MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (AP) – Leonys Martin doubled twice and scored three times, including the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, and the Texas Rangers beat Minnesota Twins 5-4 on Thursday to win their second straight four-game series on the road.
Shin-Soo Choo hit a three-run double in the second for the Rangers, but the Twins took a 4-3 lead in the fifth inning on Josh Willingham’s first home run of the season, a no-doubt drive to the second deck above left-center field.
Alexi Ogando (2-2) got four outs for the victory, and Joakim Soria retired the last two batters for his 10th save. Soria saved the last two games of the series after he had his first blown chance of the season in Tuesday’s 4-3 loss.
Martin hit a leadoff double in the eighth against Casey Fien (3-2), moved up on a sacrifice bunt and sprinted home on a sacrifice fly by Rougned Odor, beating a sweep tag by catcher Josmil Pinto. The throw by center fielder Danny Santana, a rookie shortstop playing out of position, was off the plate and up the line.
The Rangers tied it at 4 when Martin doubled and scored on Robinson Chirinos’ single in the sixth. Deduno gave up nine hits while striking out two and was removed with one out in that inning.
Bases-loaded, nobody-out situations for both teams in the second inning went opposite ways.
Deduno moved within one strike of escaping without any damage after an infield popup and a strikeout. But Choo, who served as the designated hitter to give his sore left ankle a break from left field with the short turnaround from the night before, drove a 2-2 curveball down the left-field line.
Martin scored easily from first base to put the Rangers ahead 3-0. Alex Rios, who stretched his hitting streak to 12 games, started that rally with a sharp single.
Nick Martinez dodged trouble in the bottom of the frame when Pinto sent a soft roller back to the mound. After a short throw home for a forceout, Martinez got Eduardo Escobar to line hard into a double play.
No team in baseball this season has been hit harder by injuries than the Rangers, whose rotation has been depleted by long-term disabled-list visits for Matt Harrison, Derek Holland and Martin Perez, but they’ve begun to find their stride with eight wins in their last 11 games. They took three of four at Detroit last week.
Martinez’s emergence has been helpful. The rookie was charged with more than three earned runs for the first time in five starts. He allowed nine hits and walked two in 5 2-3 innings.
Trevor Plouffe and Willingham hit RBI singles in the third, but the Twins have only 14 runs in their last seven games, going 6 for 52 with runners in scoring position.
Minnesota star Joe Mauer was booed Wednesday when he struck out with a runner on third to end the seventh inning. Though he singled and scored in the third Thursday, the $23 million man ended the sixth with a groundout to second with two runners on. Mauer has only 15 RBIs, a season pace for just 47.
NOTES: Texas manager Ron Washington held SS Elvis Andrus out of the lineup to rest for the first time this season. … Choo asked Washington for the break. “That’s why they call them veterans, because they’ll come in and express what they feel,” the manager said. The Rangers start a three-game series Friday at Washington, with RHP Colby Lewis (4-3, 5.10 ERA) pitching opposite Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg (3-4, 3.42 ERA)
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