Twins rally past Rangers
Three-run deficit dissipates quickly in late innings
ARLINGTON -- Following an extra-innings loss to the Rangers on Friday night, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire lamented his team's inability to put together quality at-bats.But just one night later, he saw a much different effort from his hitters. The Twins overcame a slow start to break out the offense in a 12-6 victory over the Rangers on Saturday night. "We were a little more consistent throughout the game with our at-bats, and we were a little more patient," Gardenhire said. "And it ends up showing on the scoreboard in our favor." While it was a strong night offensively for the entire Twins lineup, much of the production came from the Twins' 6-9 hitters as they tallied a total of six RBIs on the night Heading into the series with the Rangers, Gardenhire made some adjustments to his lineup. That included moving hitters like Delmon Young and Mike Lamb further down in the order. The hope was that by changing things up, it might spark what had been a stagnant offense. And at least on Saturday, it did. One night after having a tough time in both the field and at the plate, Youn delivered a 2-for-4 performance, which included a two-out, two-run single in the seventh inning. That hit came with the bases loaded and the game knotted at 5. "Delmon had great at-bats tonight," Gardenhire said. "I think you saw a big difference in him. ... Tonight he laid off a lot of tough pitches and got in good hitting counts and then ends up driving in runs." The three-run seventh inning by the Twins also included an RBI single by Mike Lamb, who has seen his share of troubles at the plate to start the season. For Lamb, it was part of a 3-for-4 night at the plate that raised his season batting average to .214. "I was starting to starve myself so I could get my weight underneath my batting average," Lamb said with a laugh. "It's been three weeks of 0-for-4 and 0-for-3, so it takes a lot of patience. And that patience was running out, to be honest with you. Some bats were going to have to pay the price. I already lost a helmet. So it was definitely a good night." The Twins had fallen behind in the contest, 5-2, after rough early going by their starter. Scott Baker gave up five runs on eight hits over his 4 1/3 innings, leaving his start early with a mild groin strain. Baker ended a streak of 12 consecutive starts in which he held opponents to just three runs or less. It was a streak that dated back to Aug. 10, 2007. "I felt like I made some good pitches; it's just [that] the pitches I didn't make, they were capitalized on," Baker said. "I didn't get away with much tonight." Baker was helped out by another strong night from the Twins bullpen, which has seen its share of work recently. Matt Guerrier, Dennys Reyes, Jesse Crain, and Bobby Korecky, making his Major League debut, combined to allow just one run over the remaining 5 2/3 innings. And that solid pitching performance gave the offense a chance to finish off their comeback after having trouble early against former Twins pitcher Sidney Ponson. Making his first Major League start since being released by the Twins last May, Ponson looked like a much different pitcher. Ponson's fastball topped out in the mid-90s, and he was challenging hitters time and again. The right-hander gave up five runs over his 5 1/3 innings. But only one of those runs was earned, as he wasn't helped out by some mistakes on the part of his defense, including a throwing error of his own. "Sidney was pretty good against us," Gardenhire said. "But we made him work a little bit, and then later on, we made the bullpen work, too." After tallying three runs in both the sixth and seventh innings, the Twins added four more runs in the eighth inning. Michael Cuddyer also made his presence felt in his second game back. The right fielder belted his first home run of the season, a three-run shot on the first pitch he saw in the eighth. Overall, for the Twins, it was just nice to see an evening when the entire lineup seemed to contribute to the offensive effort. The team tallied a season-high 16 hits on the night, and the feeling is that maybe now is the time when the club's rebuilt offense is finally going to click. "Hopefully, we can continue that momentum and put some wins together," Lamb said. "I think we've been sitting here for three weeks saying, 'Just wait until we all get going.' As early as it is, you start to look at the calendar, and it's not as early as you think. So we just hope that now we can get going."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.