Ranger Bullpen Collapses Again

From Associated Press

The Texas bullpen blew a two-run lead in the eighth inning for the second consecutive night Sunday as the Minnesota Twins rallied for a 6-5 victory over the Rangers.

Ranger relievers have lost their last four decisions and seven of their last eight. Their latest blowup dropped Texas 3 1/2 games behind the first-place Angels in the American League West.

Todd Walker hit a two-run homer to tie the score in the eighth and Denny Hocking threw out the potential tying run in the bottom of the ninth.

Pinch-runner Warren Newson tried to score from first on Ivan Rodriguez's double down the left-field line off Rick Aguilera. Hocking, who replaced Walker to start the ninth, came across from second base to get left fielder Alex Ochoa's throw and fired to the plate to easily get Newson, who tried to run over catcher Terry Steinbach but couldn't jar the ball free.

Hector Carrasco (4-2) pitched 2 2/3 innings for the victory and Aguilera got his 36th save.

Texas led, 5-3, entering the eighth inning, but Xavier Hernandez (6-5) did not retire a batter for the second consecutive game.

Hernandez gave up three runs and two hits, including Walker's 11th homer. Hernandez faced four batters Saturday night, giving up three earned runs and two hits as Minnesota won, 7-4.

Tim Crabtee relieved Hernandez after Terry Steinbach walked, but walked in Paul Molitor with the bases loaded to force in the go-ahead run.

Texas' Juan Gonzalez had a run-scoring double--his 148th run batted in--in the third inning to tie Cleveland's Albert Belle (1996) for the most RBIs in the AL since 1949, when Vern Stephens and Ted Williams each had 159.


WHO: Minnesota Twins

WHERE: Edison Field

WHEN: Tuesday, 7 p.m.; Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.

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