Nearly a No-No for the Rangers

Rangers 4, Twins 0

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images
    Rich Harden #40 of the Texas Rangers pitches.

    Joe Mauer's clean single to center field with one out in the ninth inning broke up the no-hit bid of four Texas Rangers pitchers.

    The Rangers beat the Minnesota Twins 4-0 on Monday night in the fifth no-hitter this season broken up in the ninth inning.

    Starter Rich Harden was activated from the disabled list earlier in the day and he went 6 2-3 innings before being lifted after throwing 111 pitches. Matt Harrison got the final out of the seventh. Darren O'Day pitched the eighth and All-Star closer Neftali Feliz got one in the ninth before Mauer singled.

    Texas prevailed in the matchup of division leaders but fell two outs shy of its first no-hitter since Kenny Rogers' perfect game against California on July 28, 1994.

    There have been five no-hitters this season, including perfect games by Oakland's Dallas Braden and Philadelphia's Roy Halladay. The last no-hitter was Matt Garza of Tampa Bay against Detroit on July 26.

    The home plate umpire Monday night was Jim Joyce. He was the first base umpire who made the incorrect call with two outs in the ninth inning that cost Detroit Armando Galarraga a perfect game.

    Harden (5-4) struck out six and walked five, the last Michael Cuddyer and that brought manager Ron Washington to the mound for a lengthy discussion. It wasn't until Joyce came to the mound, where the entire Rangers infield was already patting Harden on the back, that the pitching change was made.

    Day, a submarine-throwing right-hander, got a fortunate bounce off for an out when Delmon Young's leadoff grounder in the eighth ricocheted off first base. Rookie Mitch Moreland retrieved the ball and flipped to O'Day for the out.

    Feliz had walked a batter in the ninth before Mauer broke up the no-hit bid.

    Harden, who had been on the disabled list with shoulder tendinitis, walked the leadoff hitters in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, but his infield turned double plays in the fifth and sixth.

    Harden's last major league start was Aug. 7 at Oakland, taking the loss while allowing three runs in 2 1-3 innings. Harden showed he was ready to be activated when he allowed one run and struck out 10 in a six-inning minor league rehab start for Triple-A Oklahoma City on Wednesday.

    Harden has been mostly a disappointment for the Rangers after signing as a free agent last winter for a guaranteed $7.5 million. That includes a $1 million buyout if an $11.5 million mutual option for next season isn't exercised.

    Harden has been on the disabled list twice this season and nine times in six seasons. He missed six weeks earlier this year with a left gluteal muscle strain, then made only two starts after that before going on the DL again.

    The Twins went through a similar situation to Harden's on Aug. 15, when Kevin Slowey was lifted after seven innings without allowing a hit. He was on a pitch count after missing a start with a sore right elbow. Reliever Jon Rauch gave up a hit with one out in the eighth.

    David Murphy had a two-run triple in the first for the Rangers, who were returning from a 2-5 trip.

    Twins starter Nick Blackburn (7-8) allowed three runs and eight hits in seven innings, losing for the seventh time in his last eight decisions.

    Blackburn struck out five with no walks.

    Murphy's triple was upheld by the umpiring crew when a video review clearly showed that the drive hit high on the center field wall and stayed in the ballpark.

    Murphy's liner just eluded the glove of leaping Twins center fielder Denard Span, striking the top edge of the padding on the 8-foot wall and bouncing back toward the infield.

    Murphy went to third standing up after Josh Hamilton and Vladimir Guerrero scored following infield singles.

    Texas increased its lead to 3-0 in the fifth when Julio Borbon scored from third after Minnesota shortstop J.J. Hardy's wild throw to first on Michael Young's grounder. Hardy stepped on second for a forceout, but his throw to first in an attempt to complete a double play skipped past first baseman Cuddyer. Hardy was charged with an error when Young advanced to second.

    Hamilton's sacrifice fly in the eighth made it 4-0.

    The last time there was a no-hitter against the Twins was when David Wells threw a perfect game for the New York Yankees in 1998.

    NOTES: The Rangers also activated C Matt Treanor, who was in the lineup after being out since July 23 with a strained right knee ligament. To open roster spots, C Taylor Teagarden was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City and RHP Scott Feldman went on the 15-day DL for the first time in his career with a bone bruise in his right knee. ... The Twins modified their pregame workout to spend as little time as possible in the triple-digit afternoon heat. Manager Ron Gardenhire had his starting position players take batting practice with the first group and relief pitchers shagged fly balls early in the session before they retreated to the air-conditioned clubhouse. ... Replay has been used three times in the four games between the teams this season. ... The Twins had a three-game sweep of the Rangers May 28-30, the only other time they have played this season. ... Texas' Elvis Andrus stretched his hitting streak to 13 games with a single in the fifth and Guerrero stretched his streak to 11 games in the first.