Twins again spoil Pudge's Texas return with rally

Aug 20, 2009 - 7:48 AM By SCHUYLER DIXON Associated Press Writer

ARLINGTON, Texas(AP) -- The Minnesota Twins want to remind everyone they're playing games that matter, too.

For the second straight game, the Twins spoiled the celebrated return of Ivan Rodriguez to the Texas Rangers by rallying for a 5-4 victory Wednesday night when Denard Span hit a tying double and slid past the 14-time All-Star catcher with the go-ahead run in the sixth inning.

Span scored when the throw from center fielder Marlon Byrd took a hop in front of Rodriguez and slipped between the legs of the 13-time Gold Glove winner. The rally from a 4-0 deficit came a day after the Twins were down 5-0 before coming back to ruin Pudge's arrival in a trade with Houston.

The Rangers fell a game behind Boston for the AL wild-card lead, while the Twins pulled within 5 1/2 games of Detroit in the AL Central despite being four games under .500

"There's no die, no give-up," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We still believe. Wins like this are very important for our team. We're in a race here and we gained a game. The last two nights we've battled against a very good team."

Scott Baker (11-7) gave up nine hits and four runs and struck out six in 5 1-3 innings for Minnesota. After Rodriguez started a string of four straight singles that gave the Rangers a 3-0 lead in the third, Baker settled down and retired the heart of the Rangers lineup in order.

"That start could have very easily gone south fast," said Baker, who won his fifth straight decision. "But I continued to make good pitches and for the most part it worked out."

The Twins wiped out a Texas lead with a four-run sixth for the second night in a row. As a result, Millwood (9-8) fell to 0-7 lifetime against the Twins.

Jose Mijares pitched a career-high 2 2-3 innings, allowing no hits and striking out three to protect Minnesota's one-run lead. Joe Nathan pitched a perfect ninth for his 31st save and second in two games after going all of August without a save chance.

Fans, including one displaying a sign that said "We missed you Pudge," cheered wildly all night for Rodriguez, who played the first 11 seasons of his career with the Rangers.

Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 1=

At Toronto, Jason Bay hit a two-run homer, David Ortiz and Victor Martinez added solo shots and Boston beat Roy Halladay.

Clay Buchholz (2-3) allowed one run and six hits in six innings to win for the first time in six starts.

Halladay (13-6) allowed five runs, four earned, and eight hits in five innings, only the third time in 24 starts he failed to work at least seven innings.

Yankees 3, Athletics 2=

At Oakland, Calif., Mark Teixeira hit a two-run homer and Alfredo Aceves earned his majors-leading eighth win as a reliever.

Teixeira homered on the first pitch from A's rookie Brett Anderson (7-9) in the fourth following Johnny Damon's leadoff single. Teixeira had an RBI groundout in the first.

Chad Gaudin pitched 4 1-3 scoreless innings in his first start for the Yankees, allowing one hit, striking out five and walking five.

Mariano Rivera finished for his 36th save in 37 opportunities and 32nd in a row.

Angels 3, Indians 0=

At Cleveland, Jered Weaver bounced back from one of his worst starts to pitch his second career shutout and Los Angeles won its fifth straight.

Weaver (13-4) gave up seven hits only five days after being pounded for nine hits and eight runs in 3 1-3 innings of a 16-6 loss at Baltimore.

Indians starter Jeremy Sowers (4-9) held the Angels hitless until the fifth, when they scored all their runs.

White Sox 4, Royals 2=

At Chicago, Jose Contreras won for the first time in six weeks.

Gordon Beckham, Carlos Quentin and Alex Rios hit solo homers off Zack Greinke (11-8), the first three-homer game off the Royals ace since he allowed four at U.S. Cellular Field on June 3 last year.

Contreras had gone 0-4 with a 7.62 ERA in six starts since beating Cleveland on July 8.

Rays 3, Orioles 1=

At St. Petersburg, Fla., Jeff Niemann allowed one run over 7 1-3 innings for his 11th win of the season, and Pat Burrell, Ben Zobrist and B.J. Upton hit solo homers for Tampa Bay.

Niemann (11-5) lost his shutout bid when the last batter he faced, Brian Roberts, hit a solo homer with one out in the eighth. The right-hander, who has won seven of his last eight decisions, gave up seven hits and one walk, striking out five.

J.P. Howell pitched the ninth for his 14th save. Tampa Bay has won four straight after a five-game losing streak.

Chris Tillman (1-1) allowed all three homers among seven hits over six-plus innings for the Orioles, who are 8-24 since the All-Star break and a season-worst 24 games under .500 (48-72).

Mariners 3, Tigers 1=

At Detroit, Ichiro Suzuki homered to back Ian Snell's best start with Seattle.

Snell (1-1) held Detroit to one run and four hits in 5 2-3 innings. He entered the game with an 8.48 ERA in three starts since being acquired from Pittsburgh on July 29.

Three relievers finished, with David Aardsma pitching the ninth for his 28th save.

Justin Verlander (13-7) allowed three runs and six hits. He struck out 10 - his sixth double-digit game of the season.

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