ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau drove in two runs each, Francisco Liriano pitched around six walks and the Minnesota Twins handed the Texas Rangers their season-high fifth straight loss with a 5-1 win Friday night.
Liriano (3-7) allowed five hits and one run with six strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings, and the Rangers scored two runs or fewer for the fourth time in five games.
The Twins touched Rangers rookie left-hander Martin Perez (1-1) for four runs in first four innings, but two were unearned after first baseman Mike Napoli misplayed a popup.
Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton left the game with back spasms soon after misplaying Brian Dozier’s fly ball for a three-base error and making a long throw from the warning track in the fifth inning.
Mauer drove in his two runs on a single that scored the only earned run in a three-run third and a sacrifice fly in the fourth.
Justin Morneau had an RBI single in the third and hit his 11th home run on a line drive into the right-field seats off Tanner Scheppers in the seventh.
The Rangers had their best chance in the sixth when Adrian Beltre singled, Michael Young walked and Nelson Cruz drove in Beltre with a single. With no outs, Napoli deepened his slump by hitting into a double play, and the threat ended with one of three strikeouts by Yorvit Torrealba.
The absence of Hamilton showed in the seventh when Liriano walked Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus back-to-back, bringing up Hamilton’s replacement, rookie Leonys Martin. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire stuck with Liriano for one more batter, and the lefty struck out right-handed pinch-hitter Brandon Snyder.
The Twins sent up eight batters in the third, but only because Napoli couldn’t handle Josh Willingham’s easy two-out popup that landed untouched just inside the foul line behind first base. Mauer scored on the two-base error, and Morneau added another unearned run with a single that scored Willingham.
Perez allowed six hits and four runs — two earned — in six innings with three walks and three strikeouts.
NOTES: This week’s sweep by the Chicago White Sox was the first three-game sweep of the Rangers since June 14-16 last year against the Yankees. Texas had a major league-best streak of 52 straight series of three games or more without getting swept. … Friday night’s crowd of 47,240 was the Rangers’ fourth straight sellout. It’s the third time this year they’ve had a sellout streak of at least four games, the franchise record going into the season. … The Twins had 15 hits in their 7-3 loss to the Tigers on Thursday. It was the first time they had that many hits in a loss since Sept. 25, 2010, also at Detroit. … Sam Deduno will make his first major league start for the Twins on Saturday. He has 5 2/3 innings of big league experience with San Diego and Colorado. He will be the Twins’ 11th starter, most in the majors.
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