Despite wild ninth, a solid outing by Blackburn helps Twins sweep Rangers
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Behind another solid effort from Nick Blackburn and some early offense off a hot starting pitcher, the Minnesota Twins completed a three-game sweep of the Texas Rangers with a 6-5 victory on Sunday.
Rangers starter C.J. Wilson was on a serious roll heading into Sunday, having posted a 1.27 ERA with 37 strikeouts to 11 walks in 35 1/3 innings over his last five starts.
That hot stretch came to a screeching halt in the first inning, as the Twins jumped out to a 2-0 lead, courtesy of a two-RBI double by Michael Cuddyer.
Texas tied the game 2-2 in the second inning when catcher Matt Treanor singled home a pair, but the Twins retook the lead on a sac fly by Denard Span in the bottom of the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth, Jason Kubel, Delmon Young and J.J. Hardy opened the frame with three consecutive singles, with Hardy's driving home a run. Three batters later, Span drew a bases-loaded walk to put the Twins up 5-2. Wilson was then pulled for left-hander Michael Kirkman, who gave up a sac fly to Orlando Hudson, making it 6-2.
The ninth inning brought some extra drama. Julio Borbon drove home Ian Kinsler with a two-out double off Jon Rauch. Matt Capps came in and allowed an RBI single to Cristian Guzman, another single to Michael Young, and a walk to David Murphy, loading the bases with a 6-4 lead. Vladimir Guerrero then hit a bouncing ball up the middle that was backhanded by Orlando Hudson. One run scored on the play, and Hudson fired to third base behind the runner, Young, who was called out due to interference by third base coach Dave Anderson.
Third base umpire Alfonso Marquez claimed Anderson aided Young as he slammed on the brakes.
Manager Ron Washington came out to argue, to no avail.
Wilson allowed six earned runs on seven hits and four walks while striking out five in 5 1/3 innings -- his worst start since allowing five earned runs in Minnesota on May 29.
His counterpart, Blackburn, threw seven solid innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits and three walks while striking out four. This was Blackburn's third effective start since being recalled from Class-AAA Rochester on August 23.
With the victory, the Twins (80-57) improve to 45-23 at Target Field.
The Twins open up a three-game home series with the Kansas City Royals on Monday, with RHP Kevin Slowey (11-6, 5.39) set to face RHP Sean O-Sullivan (2-4, 5.50) at 1:10 p.m.