A season-high five-game losing streak might not be only major concern facing the Texas Rangers .
The leading vote-getter for next week's All-Star game, Hamilton is considered day to day after he injured his back when he dropped a fly ball at the warning track in the fifth inning of Texas' 5-1 loss to Minnesota on Friday. He left the game in the bottom of the frame after going 0 for 2."It kind of scared me when it first happened because I didn't know what to expect from a spasm like that," said Hamilton, who leads the majors with 74 RBIs. "I had some weakness in my legs."
The health of Hamilton is merely the latest issue facing the Rangers (50-34), who have hit .209 and been outscored 34-9 during their five-game skid. The two-time reigning AL champions have not dropped six in a row since April 15-21, 2010."We hit a funk," manager Ron Washington said. "The only way we can come out of it we have to keep grinding and play our way through it."
All-Star reserve Elvis Andrus is 0 for 12 in the last three games, while AL starting catcher Mike Napoli is 3 for 27 in his last eight and hitless in his last 21 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
Opting to rest rookie All-Star Yu Darvish , Texas hands the ball to Derek Holland (5-4, 5.10 ERA) for the first time since he was placed on the disabled list with shoulder and elbow fatigue June 7. The left-hander went on the shelf two days after allowing three runs on two homers in 5 1-3 innings of a 6-3 win at Oakland.
Working to get his strength back, Holland feels ready to go despite allowing three home runs in the sixth inning of a Monday rehab start for Triple-A Round Rock.
"(Holland) got out of it healthy, got deep into the game and we'll see where he goes from there," Washington told the Rangers' official website.
Holland is 2-2 with a 4.50 ERA in six starts versus Minnesota, but has won his last two home outings against the Twins while limiting them to one run each time.
Sam Deduno will make his first career start and Minnesota debut in this contest. The right-hander, who went 1-2 with a 2.14 ERA in nine starts for Triple-A Rochester, posted a 3.18 ERA without a record in six major league appearances for Colorado and San Diego over the past two seasons.
"It's a good chance for me," Deduno told the Twins' official website. "When I was in the big leagues before I didn't pitch much. So it's a good opportunity."
Replacing Nick Blackburn , who was optioned to Rochester this week, Deduno will be the 11th different starter for Minnesota in 2012.
|June 24, 2012||Matt Capps||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|June 17, 2012||Matt Capps||Day-to-Day||Sore right shoulder|
|June 17, 2012||Joe Mauer||Day-to-Day||Left game - bruised right quadricep|
|June 16, 2012||Joe Mauer||Day-to-Day||Sore left hamstring|
|June 15, 2012||Justin Morneau||Day-to-Day||Left forearm injury|
|June 14, 2012||P.J. Walters||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|July 06, 2012||Josh Hamilton||Day-to-Day||Left game - Lower back spasms|
|June 26, 2012||Mark Lowe||15-Day DL||Strained right intercostal muscle|
|June 24, 2012||Colby Lewis||15-Day DL||Right forearm tendinitis|
|June 24, 2012||Matt Harrison||Day-to-Day||Left game - left hip soreness|
|June 20, 2012||Mitch Moreland||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|June 16, 2012||Josh Hamilton||Day-to-Day||Intestinal virus|
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Josh Hamilton showed his back was not an issue a night after suffering spasms.
Now the Texas Rangers just want their offense back. And if a lineup shuffle is what it takes, so be it.
Nelson Cruz , hitting in the No. 5 spot instead of his usual No. 6, went 3 for 5 with two doubles and two RBI, including one that scored Adrian Beltre from first base with the winning run in the 10th to lead Texas to a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Saturday night, snapping their five-game losing streak.
Beltre also was 3 for 5 with a home run that tied the game in the sixth as the Rangers improved to 41-5 in games in which the All-Star third baseman hits a home run.
"Cruz swung the bat well," manager Ron Washington said. "We were due to finally put together something offensively. We kept swinging and kept getting runners out there. We just weren't able to get as many in as we would have liked, but we got the one in that was important."
Hamilton had a home run, walk and a run scored as the designated hitter one night after leaving in the fifth inning with back spasms.
Joe Nathan (1-2) pitched scoreless ninth and 10th innings for the Rangers, his longest outing in almost three years after ligament replacement surgery, in relief of Derek Holland , who returned from a stint on the disabled list with left shoulder fatigue.
Holland gave up three runs on six hits, two walks and four strikeouts over six innings.
Kyle Waldrop (0-1) failed to get an out in the 10th to take the loss for the Twins, who used six pitchers, including Samuel Deduno in his major league starting debut, to again keep the Rangers' offense subdued.
During the losing streak, the majors' best offensive team scored nine runs.
The Rangers had a few chances to go ahead late, but couldn't capitalize. They loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh, but Beltre grounded out to end the inning.
In the eighth, David Murphy walked and stole second with two outs, followed by a walk to Mike Napoli . But Craig Gentry popped out to short center field handled by Twins shortstop Brian Dozier . The Rangers are 3 for 17 with runners in scoring position in the series, including 2 for 9 on Saturday.
"We kept swinging and kept getting runners out there," Washington said. "We just weren't able to get as many in as we would have liked, but we got the one in that was important."
Washington told reporters before the game that nothing should be read into moving Cruz up to No. 5 and Michael Young down to sixth. The move, he said, was the result of moving Young out of the No. 3 spot of Hamilton, who wasn't expected to play.
Washington said he just decided to leave Cruz, who has struggled all season, at No. 5.
"I'm not going to pat myself on the back," Washington said. "It just came off my pen that way."
Said Cruz: "I don't see any difference. When the games starts, everybody's first and third (in the order). There's no other way to see it."
Trevor Plouffe , Ryan Doumit and Josh Willingham each drove in runs for the Twins, who took a one-run lead on Willingham's solo homer in the sixth.
The Twins had their chances, including putting runners on first and second in the seventh after one-out walks to Joe Mauer and Willingham, but Robbie Ross induced Justin Morneau to bounce into an inning-ending double play.
Willingham gave the Twins the lead a second time on a home run to center field until Beltre's blast tied the game again.
Deduno, the Twins' 11th pitcher to start a game this season, gave up three runs including two home runs, on six hits and three strikeouts. He walked three. His biggest mistake was a slider up in the zone that Beltre smacked into the left-field seats that tied the game at 3-3 in the sixth.
"I thought he threw some really nice breaking balls," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He hung the slider to Beltre, and against these guys if you throw too many strikes they will absolutely kill you."
Notes: Hamilton became the first Rangers player to record at least 27 home runs and 75 RBIs before the All-Star break and first major leaguer to do so since Albert Pujols in 2009. Alex Rodriguez was the last American League player to reach those marks in 2007. ... The Rangers optioned right-handed pitcher Justin Grimm to Double-A Frisco to make room for Holland. Grimm went 1-1 with a 10.80 ERA in three games with the team, including two starts. ... Home plate umpire Marty Foster left the game in the top of the seventh after apparently becoming sick. Second base umpire Jeff Kellogg took over behind the plate for the short crew. ... Ross extended his scoreless innings streak to 22 1/3 after recording an out in the seventh and pitching the eighth. Ross is in position to post the lowest ERA (0.96) through the All-Star break since 1933, eclipsing Bob Gibson 's 1.06 in 1968. The lowest rookie figure is 1.78, recorded by Detroit's Mark Fidrych in 1976.