Bombs Blow Rangers Past Twins

Texas gets within 5.5 of LAA

When Marlon Byrd saw on the Texas Rangers' lineup card before the game that he was in left field, he joked that he was in the spot for the less-than-average defender that hits homers.

He got part of that right.

Byrd homered in consecutive innings and made a spectacular diving catch in between those long balls in an 11-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday night that kept the Rangers within a game of Boston for the AL wild-card lead.

"It was a must-win, that was a definite," said Byrd, who has played all three outfield spots while starting 52 consecutive games.

The Rangers had blown four-run leads each of the previous two nights -- losing both games and the wild-card lead.

Texas jumped ahead 4-0 in the series finale, and still led 4-1 when the Twins loaded the bases with one out in the sixth. Manager Ron Washington replaced rookie left-handed starter Derek Holland (7-7) with hard-throwing rookie righty Neftali Feliz, who then needed only two pitches to induce an inning-ending double-play grounder from Joe Crede.

"That turned the momentum," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "They got back in the dugout and scored some runs."

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Nelson Cruz, back in the lineup after missing 15 games with a sprained left ankle, hit his 26th homer leading off the sixth to start a five-run outburst.

Byrd, who has a career-high 14 homers, hit a solo shot in the second and a two-run blast to center an inning later to make it 4-0. The left fielder also had a diving backhanded catch to end the Minnesota third, and had a sacrifice fly in the seventh.

All four Texas homers came in 5 1-3 innings off rookie right-hander Anthony Swarzak (3-7), who gave up six runs to lose his fourth consecutive start.

"This is fun," Byrd said. "You just hope you just keep grinding it out, keep getting hits, keep helping this team win and they keep putting you out there."

The Rangers had 17 hits and every starter had at least one in their last home game before playing nine in a row and 15 of 19 on the road.

Rookie speedster Julio Borbon went 3 for 5 with three RBIs and is hitting .536 (15 for 28) in seven starts since being recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City while Cruz was hurt.

"I can't say how hungry I am to win. It's great to be in the race. We want to win," said Michael Young, who, in his ninth season, is the longest-tenured Ranger. "We have a bunch of young guys and we're feeding off their energy. This gives us some momentum heading into the trip."

With the win, Texas is down 5.5 games to LAA who lost 11-3 to Cleveland.

Indians 11, Angels 3

At Cleveland, Justin Masterson pitched into the seventh inning and rookie Matt LaPorta had a career-high three RBIs as the Indians battered Los Angeles starter John Lackey.

Masterson (4-4) did not allow an earned run in 6 1-3 innings to win for the first time since being acquired from Boston in the trade for Victor Martinez hours before the July 31 trade deadline.

Lackey (8-6) was charged with six runs in 5 1-3 innings, his worst start since July 7.

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