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Updated: June 10th, 2011 10:17pm
Twins Daily: Seven-run second inning bounces Brian Duensing in loss

Twins Daily: Seven-run second inning bounces Brian Duensing in loss

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- A seven-run second inning against left-hander Brian Duensing provided plenty of cushion to boost the Texas Rangers to a 9-3 win over the Minnesota Twins at Target Field on Friday night.

The skinny

With heavy rain falling down, the Rangers batted 11 and scored seven in a nightmarish top of the second inning for Duensing and the Twins. Mike Napoli, Yorbit Torrealba, Elvis Andrus, Craig Gentry and Michael Young all delivered RBI singles, and Adrian Beltre -- who began the inning by drawing a leadoff walk -- delivered an RBI double.

Duensing was charged with seven runs (three earned) on seven hits and a walk in two innings, raising his season ERA to 4.98, and he was replaced by right-hander Anthony Swarzak.

"I mean yeah, the mound got probably a little slick, but basically the whole outing comes down to not executing my game plan," Duensing said. "And then you know our game plan was to try and bust them in try and keep them off the outside corner, and every time we tried going (inside), which we didn't very often, but when we did I didn't get it in there ... One of those innings where everything kind of snowballed and I couldn't stop it."

The Twins sprinkled in three runs on an RBI single by Matt Tolbert in the second inning, an RBI single by Michael Cuddyer in the fifth, and a bloop, RBI single by Drew Butera in the sixth.

The loss drops the Twins to 0-25 this season when allowing five runs or more.

Turning point

Back-to-back errors in the top of the second inning by the Twins helped break the flood gates open for Texas.

With one out, the game tied 0-0 and Adrian Beltre standing on first base, Jason Repko booted Mike Napoli's single to center field, allowing Beltre to come all the way around and cross home plate. Napoli wound up advancing to second and scored shortly after on a single by Yorbit Torrealba.

The next batter, Andres Blanco, hit a cue-shot grounder toward shortstop, but as Alexi Casilla charged to make the play, the ball took an odd turn and skipped into center field. The mud ball allowed Blanco to reach first base safely, while Torrealba scampered to third.

The Rangers went on to tally five more runs on four more hits to take a 7-0 lead.

"(Duensing) had one pitch that should have been two outs with one man on. We don't get the pitch and the inning just kept going on and on," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "(Duensing) didn't make any adjustments after that. Whether he got frustrated or couldn't get a good feel for it with all that rain, I don't know."

Numbers game

101: Pitches thrown in relief by Swarzak, who gave up two earned runs on six hits in six innings while striking out one. "I embrace being in the big leagues," Swarzak said. "I really look forward to coming to the field every day and being a professional baseball player. This is what I've been looking forward to myw hole life. And whether it's starting or relieving, it doesn't matter. Coming here to the clubhouse and being around these guys and competing against the best athletes in the world, that's what it's all about for me."

3: Hits for Butera, which set a new career high for the catcher. Butera finished 3-for-4 with a double, two singles, an RBI and a run, raising his season batting line to .174/.207/.261.

11: Errors for the Twins at shortstop this season after Casilla's misplay in the second inning. It also tied Casilla with Danny Valencia for the team lead in errors with six apiece.

Health report

• 1B Justin Morneau (wrist) told Gardenhire he needed a day off Friday, and the manager obliged. It's possible Morneau could receive a cortisone shot in his ailing left wrist sometime in the near future, according to head athletic trainer Rick McWane.

• C Joe Mauer (leg weakness, general soreness) hit a three-run homer in his first at-bat for Single-A Fort Myers on Friday night, and he sat behind the plate for the third straight game. Mauer finished the night 1-for-2 with a home run, two walks and four RBIs, and he also caught eight innings. Gardenhire said the team will re-evaluate Mauer's situation after he catches another game for Fort Myers on Sunday. It's possible he would then be sent to Triple-A Rochester, or even back to Minnesota to rejoin the big league club.

• RHP Matt Capps was unavailable Thursday night due to tendonitis in his right wrist, but he felt "really good" on Friday, according to Gardenhire. He was unavailable again on Friday after McWane suggested to Gardenhire the team give Capps another day.

• OF Denard Span (whiplash, concussion) wore sunglasses during pre-game warm-ups, despite overcast skies. Span did not participate in any activities, and he said he felt a bit "spaced out" throughout the day. Span remains on the seven-day disabled list, and he is eligible to return on June 16.

• DH Jim Thome (back, quad) received an epidural shot in his back on Friday morning, and McWane said the 40-year-old was a little bit sore from the injection. Thome will be re-evaluated on Saturday. "The discomfort has definitely calmed down," Thome said. "So that's a good thing. That's a good thing."

• LHP Glen Perkins (oblique) will pitch an inning for Triple-A Rochester in Toledo on Saturday.

• RHP Joe Nathan (elbow tenderness) will travel to Fort Myers on Saturday after throwing one final bullpen in Minneapolis. Nathan's first throwing session in Florida will be a 10-minute batting practice session, where pitchers usually throw between 30-40 pitches. Nathan said he hopes he will be able to come straight back to Minnesota when his rehab in Florida is complete, but it's possible the team will send him to Double-A or Triple-A to face better hitters.

Overheard

"It was one of those innings that was a nightmare. You couldn't stop it, couldn't find a way. It ended up cutting us deep into a hole. You try to battle back from that and nothing really good happen."
-- Gardenhire, addressing the disastrous second inning.

"Yeah, this is real frustrating. We're playing well now, and to go out and basically not give us a chance right away is very frustrating, and I don't know ... I got to find a way to get it done. I am not getting it done right now and I know that."
-- Duensing

On deck

Right-hander Scott Baker takes the mound Saturday against the Rangers (3:10 p.m., 1500 ESPN Twin Cities). Baker (3-4, 3.86) scattered nine hits through seven innings, giving up three runs in his last outing which ended as a win against the Indians on Monday. Baker has given up at least three earned runs in five of his last six starts, but the Rangers are hitting only .245/.282/.409 collectively with four home runs and 15 RBIs against him.

Baker's opponent will be fellow right-hander Colby Lewis (5-6, 4.37). Lewis is coming off his worst outing of the season Monday against Detroit where he gave up nine runs on 10 hits allowing four home runs in just 3 1/3 innings pitched. The big right-hander has a good track record thus far against the active Twins players giving up only six hits in 32 plate appearances while keeping the Twins inside the ballpark.

Coming up

• Sunday: vs. Texas, 1:10 p.m. LHP Francisco Liriano (3-6, 5.20) vs. LHP Matt Harrison (5-5, 3.48).
• Monday: Off.
• Tuesday: vs. White Sox, 7:10 p.m. RHP Carl Pavano (3-5, 4.54) vs. RHP Gavin Floyd (6-5, 3.89).

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
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