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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Ron Gardenhire’s pregame message to his team Tuesday was to wipe the slate clean from the previous night’s embarrassing loss to the Texas Rangers.
The Minnesota Twins paid attention to their veteran manager.
Joe Mauer drove in the go-ahead run with a pinch-hit double off closer Neftali Feliz in a two-run ninth and the Twins rallied for a 9-8 victory over the Rangers.
Minnesota bounced back from Monday night’s 20-6 rout when Texas scored the most runs in the majors this season.
“You forget what happened the night before,” Gardenhire said. “The guys came in very professional … and were up for the game. We scored some runs early and we were into the game the whole way.”
The Twins trailed 8-7 when they put runners on second and third off Feliz (0-2) on Delmon Young’s single and Jim Thome’s pinch-double.
Tsuyoshi Nishioka hit a grounder to shortstop Elvis Andrus, who fumbled the ball for an error as Young scored to tie it.
Mauer, getting a game off on a 101-degree night and hitless in his previous eight at-bats, lashed a double to left to score pinch-runner Jason Repko and put the Twins in front.
Gardenhire took advantage of Mauer and Thome coming off the bench with the game on the line.
“Big at-bats by two of our big hitters, and we needed them,” Gardenhire said. “We needed this win desperately.”
Glen Perkins (3-1) worked a scoreless eighth for the win and Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his eighth save in 11 chances.
Nathan allowed two baserunners with one out, but recovered to strike out Mitch Moreland and pinch-hitter David Murphy to record his 254th save with the Twins, tying him with Rick Aguilera for the club record.
“For me, it’s just an honor to be mentioned with a guy like Rick Aguilera,” said Nathan, who nonetheless seemed more pumped about the team win than a personal milestone.
“I think that’s the biggest show of character from this team, we get our brains beat in last night and fall down 7-3 tonight and not give up, I think that’s one thing we’ve proven this year,” Nathan said.
Yorvit Torrealba homered and went 3 for 4 with a season-high four RBIs for Texas.
Torrealba, who started the night in a 1-for-16 slide, hit a three-run blast in a five-run fourth, going deep for the first time since April 25.
Nelson Cruz maintained his hot streak for the Rangers by going 3 for 3 with two RBIs. Cruz is 15 for 25 with 12 RBIs over his last six games to raise his average from .239 to .267.
The Twins, who had lost four of their previous five, got their offense rolling with a three-run second off All-Star left-hander C.J. Wilson on RBI singles from Drew Butera and Michael Cuddyer, and Alexi Casilla’s run-producing groundout.
Texas countered with a two-run second on consecutive RBI doubles by Cruz and Moreland.
In the fourth, Cruz’s second double of the game drove in Michael Young from first to tie it at 3.
Torrealba deposited Carl Pavano’s 1-0 pitch into the seats in left field for his fourth homer of the season, and Andrus’ RBI single later in the fourth made it 7-3.
The Twins rallied with a three-run fifth as Wilson walked the first three batters of the inning, then gave up a two-run single to Danny Valencia that knocked Wilson from the game. Valencia stretched his career-best hitting streak to 10 games.
Each runner advanced a base on left fielder Josh Hamilton’s throwing error, and Nishioka’s infield single off Hunter drove in Valencia from third to pull the Twins within 7-6.
Torrealba’s RBI single in the fifth stretched Texas’ lead to 8-6, but Jason Kubel’s run-scoring single in the sixth got the Twins within one.
Wilson allowed six runs and seven hits with three strikeouts and four walks over four innings in his shortest outing of the season.
Texas had won 16 of its previous 19, but the Rangers couldn’t sustain Monday night’s momentum.
“Last night’s game, everything went our way and tonight, things didn’t go our way, as simple as that,” Wilson said.
Pavano gave up a season-high eight runs with nine hits in five innings, then watched as his team rallied to save him from a loss.
“It was a big win for the team,” Pavano said. “The boys battled behind me. I didn’t make it easy on us at all with a lot of bad pitches, a lot of runs I’ve given up.”
Notes: Feliz had his fifth blown save of the season. … Minor league OF Leonys Martin, the Cuban defector who signed a $15 million contract with the Rangers this season, is spending two days with the big-league club working with coach Gary Pettis on baserunning and outfield play. Martin will return to Triple-A Round Rock after the two-day tutorial, where he’ll probably finish the season. … Twins 1B Justin Morneau experienced migraine headaches during a rehab workout in Minnesota on Tuesday and shut down the session. Gardenhire said Morneau felt better after taking medication and could resume workouts Wednesday. Gardenhire said he had been told by team medical personnel that the headaches were not related to Morneau’s past neck and concussion issues. Morneau is on the 15-day DL with a sprained left wrist.
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