ARLINGTON, Texas(AP) The
avoided a letdown after winning a big weekend series over their closest playoff competitor.
drove in three runs and the
extended their lead in the AL wild-card race, beating the slumping
8-5 Monday night.
After taking two of three over the weekend from Boston, the Rangers stretched their advantage to one game over the
atop the wild-card standings.
had two hits and scored twice as he batted third in the Rangers lineup for the first time since July 25.
added two RBIs for Texas, which jumped out to a 7-2 lead after the second.
''We're trying to take the approach of keeping the intensity like Boston is here every day or the Angels are here every day.''
said Hamilton, who was dropped to as low as seventh in the lineup earlier this month.
(6-2) won his third straight start, allowing four runs and four hits in 5 2-3 innings.
Since he was called up from the minors on June 28, Hunter has gone 6-2 with a 2.38 ERA in nine starts.
''The first two innings, Tommy had trouble with his command,'' Rangers manager
said. ''But he hung out there and fought like the warrior that he is.''
Minnesota All-Star first baseman
left in the fourth inning with an inner ear infection. Twins manager
said the 2006 MVP is day-to-day after he began experiencing dizziness.
Gardenhire also said after the game that Twins starter
(5-12) will go on the disabled list Tuesday with a tired arm. The left-hander gave up seven runs, tying a career high, and
seven hits in two innings.
''It will be a break both mentally and physically,'' Gardenhire said. ''He's part of our present, but he's part of our future
too. We don't want to do anything to hurt him.''
It was Liriano's shortest start since lasting two-thirds of an inning April 24, 2008 against Oakland.
are tied with the most losses in the AL.
Minnesota starting pitchers have lasted only a combined 8 1-3 innings the past three games.
''I didn't say anything about my arm in the first inning,'' Liriano said. ''I wanted to go four or five innings to save the
After Hunter was taken out in favor of Darren O'Day, the Twins scored three times to come within 7-5.
had a bases-loaded walk and
added a two-run single before the Rangers brought in
to get the final out of the sixth.
pitched a scoreless ninth to pick up his 18th save.
The Rangers (67-50) are 17 games over .500 for the first time since Sept. 26, 2004. The Rangers were in contention until the
final week of the 2004 season, the last time the club made a serious playoff push.
''We're in territory we've never been before,'' Washington said. ''We're learning and showing a lot of character.''
went 3 for 5 and homered in the first for the Twins, who have lost 12 of 16. He pushed his hitting streak to 14 games and
raised baseball's best batting average to .380.
The Rangers answered Mauer's 23rd home run with three runs in the first.
Byrd was hit in the foot by a pitch with the bases loaded, Murphy followed with an RBI single and
added a sacrifice fly to put the Rangers ahead 3-1.
Young's RBI double cut Minnesota's deficit to 3-2.
Byrd had a two-run single, Murphy hit a sacrifice fly and
chipped in with an RBI single that extended Texas' advantage to 7-2.
capped the scoring with an RBI triple in the seventh.
NOTES: Texas C
had two hits in his first career game. ... Gardenhire said after the game that RHP
will start Thursday instead of LHP
. ... Texas 2B
, who was hit by a pitch that ricocheted off his shoulder to his head Saturday night, was plunked again. This time, the pitch
brushed the front of his jersey near his belt.