ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 09: Yu Darvish #11 of the Texas Rangers
Yu Darvish kept wriggling out of trouble in five-plus innings, Josh Hamilton homered among his three hits and the Texas Rangers beat the Minnesota Twins 6-2 on Saturday. Adrian Beltre drove in two runs and put Texas ahead with a single in the seventh that scored Brandon Snyder, who had a career-high three hits.
The Rangers won their third straight and for the sixth time in seven games. Denard Span led the Twins with three hits and an RBI double that tied the game at 2 in the sixth. But the Twins failed to score with the bases loaded on three occasions, and lost for the sixth time in their first eight games.
Darvish, making his second start, was removed after hitting Jamey Carroll and walking Justin Morneau to load the bases with two outs in the sixth. He allowed two runs -- one earned -- on nine hits, striking out four and walking four.
The Japanese sensation did his best work when he was in trouble on Saturday. The Twins loaded the bases in the second and the fifth, but Darvish struck out Carroll in the second and Ryan Doumit in the fifth to escape.
Darvish also prevented a run in the fourth by tagging out Doumit at home when a pitch in the dirt bounced away from catcher Mike Napoli. Robbie Ross (1-0) relieved Darvish and got Morneau to pop out in foul territory to end Minnesota's bases-loaded threat in the sixth.
Twins starter Nick Blackburn was matching Darvish before leaving with one out in the sixth with right shoulder stiffness. He is day to day. Brian Duensing (0-1) relieved Blackburn and got out of the sixth without allowing a run.
Jeff Gray relieved Duensing with runners on first and third in the seventh and allowed RBI singles to Beltre and Michael Young, making it 4-2. Mitch Moreland, the Rangers regular first baseman, was a late-scratch after being up most of the night with a painful abscessed tooth. Snyder was given his first start of the season and made the most of it.
Hamilton hit a 425-foot shot that sailed over the right-field bleachers and bounced high off the Target Field pavilion. Texas added two runs in the ninth on Beltre's double and Trevor Plouffe's throwing error.
Joe Nathan, the Twins all-time saves leader, pitched the ninth in his first appearance in Minnesota since signing with the Rangers in the offseason. After scoring 16 runs in taking two games from the Angels, Minnesota's offensive struggles have returned.
The Twins left 15 runners on base and have scored two runs or fewer in all of their losses.