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Punto scores on late-game errors as Twins edge Rangers

Aug 18, 2007 - 4:20 AM By Anthony Maggio PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Nick Punto scored the game-winning run on a wild pitch by Jamey Wright in the bottom of the 10th inning as the Minnesota Twins escaped with a 2-1 triumph over the Texas Rangers on Friday.

After striking out with the bases loaded to end the seventh inning, Punto singled to center and raced to third on a fielding error by center fielder Marlon Byrd to lead off the 10th. With Joe Mauer at the plate, Wright's (3-5) pitch got past catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, allowing Punto to score.

Reliever Matt Guerrier (2-5) tossed a scoreless inning for the win, helping Minnesota capture its third straight game following a five-game slide.

For Punto, who is hitting just .204 this season, it was sweet redemption following his seventh-inning at-bat and his season-long struggles.

"You know, he was pretty frustrated, but he's our shortstop right now," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I'm not real sure of any other options. I can't take him out. I told him, 'You're our guy and we're going to need you to come up with some big hits.' He said he was happy I gave him the opportunity to hit there. It was huge for our team and it was huge for him."

"It's been a really tough year for me offensively," Punto said. "But I've got 25 guys here definitely pulling for me. That's a nice feeling."

Twins starter Carlos Silva was brilliant in his start, allowing one run and five hits in seven innings. He entered the game with a 1.64 ERA in his last three starts.

The righthander gave up just one hit before Saltalamacchia tied the game at 1-1 with his first home run in a Texas uniform with one out in the third. Ramon Vazquez and Frank Catalanotto followed with singles, but Silva responded by retiring 12 in a row.

"After the inning, (pitching coach Rick Anderson) was talking to me and told me I wasn't being aggressive enough," Silva said. "I tried to have the same mechanics with all my pitches. It's good to have guys like that because he reminds you what you have to do. He always tells me to remember the bullpen, try to remember what I do in the bullpen. After that I felt very good with all my pitches."

Texas' Kason Gabbard held his own on the mound as well, giving up one run and five hits in 6 2/3 frames. He came into the contest with an 0-1 record and a 6.30 ERA in four road starts this season between Boston and Texas, but managed to turn around his luck away from home against Minnesota's putrid offense.

"His performance was outstanding," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He certainly did what he wanted to do in terms of changing speeds and spotting his pitches. He was outstanding on defense on balls hit back up the middle. He certainly gave us what we wanted."

The rookie gave up a pair of one-out hits in the second inning with Rondell White pushing home Justin Morneau on a groundout for a 1-0 lead, but Gabbard dodged trouble from there. None of the three baserunners he allowed in the next four innings made it past second base.

But in the bottom half of the seventh inning, Gabbard, who left his last start after 1 1/3 innings due to stiffness in his left forearm, ran out of gas.

After retiring the first two batters with ease, Gabbard hit Mike Redmond before walking rookies Tommy Watkins and Alexi Casilla to load the bases. Eight of the last nine pitches were balls, and he left the game after throwing 102 pitches.

"He just hit a batter and lost the strike zone. It happens in the course of a ballgame," Washington said. "I know he's fine."

Wright came in and fell behind Punto 3-0 before striking him out on a 3-2 slider. He worked around a two-out walk in the eighth inning and a pair of one-out singles in the ninth before Minnesota put up the winning run in the 10th.

The Rangers threatened with two aboard in the seventh inning following Brad Wilkerson's two-out single, but Saltalamacchia struck out on three pitches to end the threat and bring on an animated fist pump from Silva.

Texas put two on again in the eighth with two outs, but reliever Pat Neshek got Byrd to fly out to center field to end the frame.








  • AL
    FINAL 10
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
    - - - - - - - - -
    TEXAS 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
    MINNESOTA 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    10 R H E
    -- - - -
    TEXAS 0 1 7 1
    MINNESOTA 1 2 8 0 (FINAL 10)

    BATTERIES: TEX

    Aug 17 10:56 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    WILD PITCH BY JAMEY WRIGHT ALLOWED NICK PUNTO TO SCORE.
    FINAL SCORE: MINNESOTA 2, TEXAS 1

    Rangers vs. TwinsAug 17 10:56 PM
  • 105
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 40 roots (Extra Innings)

    Rangers vs. TwinsAug 17 10:41 PM
  • 65
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    RUWTbot Added 60 roots (Close Finish)

    Rangers vs. TwinsAug 17 10:21 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY JARROD SALTALAMACCHIA (1) TO RIGHT WITH 1
    OUT IN THE 3RD OFF CARLOS SILVA.
    CURRENT SCORE: TEXAS 1, MINNESOTA 1
    DUE UP FOR TEXAS: R VAZQUEZ (.236, 5 HR, 17 RBI)

    Rangers vs. TwinsAug 17 8:40 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND OUT BY RONDELL WHITE SCORED JUSTIN MORNEAU.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M CUDDYER ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TEXAS 0
    MINNESOTA 1 BOTTOM, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: M REDMOND (.287, 1 HR, 28 RBI)

    Rangers vs. TwinsAug 17 8:33 PM
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    2buthy5 Added 5 roots

    Rangers vs. TwinsJul 14 2:42 AM