started with a home run, then ended the game with another long ball in the 12th inning.
The bookend homers by Kinsler, between his three strikeouts, gave the Rangers a 5-3 victory over the
on Sunday night to snap a four-game losing streak.
''I knew it had a chance. I was just hoping for a little gust of wind to get it over the fence,'' Kinsler said. ''We needed
to get that win.''
, who set up earlier runs with the first two sacrifice bunts of his career, led off the 12th with a single off
(0-1) and was bunted to second by
. R.A. Dickey then took over for the Twins, and instead of floating another knuckleball left a 1-2 fastball over the plate.
''It's not good, no possible way that should happen and it did,'' Twins manager
''Of course I regret it. It was on me,'' Dickey said. ''It was poor. The pitch rested in my hand and I threw the wrong pitch.
I cost us this one.''
(1-0) got out of a two-on, one-out jam in the 11th and had a 1-2-3 12th after four other relievers had already combined for
six scoreless innings. C.J. Wilson struck out four in two perfect innings before giving way to Nippert.
''Those guys continued to grind all night,'' manager
said. ''We executed fundamentals, scratched some runs, tied the game and then took it. ... They know how bad we needed it
and they fought for us. This could be the game to get us back on track.''
The win kept the Rangers, who led the AL West by as many as 5 1/2 games at the end of May, within a three games of the division-leading
Los Angeles Angels
. And it prevented Seattle from matching them for second place.
Kinsler put the Rangers up 1-0 when he hit his sixth leadoff homer of the season, and the 11th of his career to extend his
own team record. He became the first player in Texas history to hit a leadoff homer and end the game with a homer, the team
said, according to research by the Elias Sports Bureau.
After the leadoff homer, Kinsler struck out his next three at-bats, including the last outs of the fifth and seventh innings.
Kinsler grounded out to start the 10th.
had leadoff singles and scored in the fifth and seventh innings to tie the game at 3-3, moved to third both times on Saltalamacchia's
A passed ball by All-Star catcher
, who appeared to be crossed up by starter
, allowed Byrd to score in the fifth. Byrd came home with the tying run two innings later on Andrus' sac fly.
Mauer was 0 for 6 to drop his batting average from .367 to .358 and lose the major league lead. Seattle's
went 3 for 4 Sunday and is now hitting .363.
had his first homer of the season among his three hits for the Twins, who missed a chance to gain ground in the AL Central
after Detroit and the
Chicago White Sox
both lost earlier Sunday.
Punto entered the game with a .203 average, and the light-hitting shortstop hadn't hit a homer in 371 at-bats since Aug. 4.
His one-out solo shot in the third off rookie left-hander
barely cleared the 14-foot wall in left field to tie the game 1-1.
Minnesota loaded the bases an inning later and went ahead 3-1 when
had a sacrifice fly and
followed with an RBI single.
NOTES: Liriano struck out six before leaving with no outs in the seventh. ... Umpires used video replay at Rangers Ballpark
for the first time, taking a homer away from
in the fourth. Jones pulled a pitch down the left-field line, but even he apparently knew the ball was foul. He trotted around
the bases only after third base umpire Brian O'Nora gave a late signal for a home run. Gardenhire immediately charged out
of the dugout to argue. ... Twins 3B
sat out with a sprained right shoulder. He got hurt making a diving catch Friday, but started Saturday before coming out with
he felt ''tingling'' in his right hand. ... Texas LHP
, out since May 26 because of left shoulder inflammation, threw about 67 pitches to live hitters Sunday. It was his second
throwing session in four days. He will likely begin a rehab assignment Wednesday and could be back the first week of August.