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Updated: July 8th, 2012 11:41pm
Twins blow another late lead, head into All-Star break on 2-game skid

Twins blow another late lead, head into All-Star break on 2-game skid

by The Associated Press
SportsWire Daily

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ARLINGTON, Texas -The Minnesota Twins are going into the All-Star break a little thunderstruck.

Ian Kinsler lined a game-winning single in the 13th inning for the AL West-leading Texas Rangers, giving them a 4-3 victory Sunday night after they had scored three unearned runs in the ninth.

"A disappointing loss for us," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

The skinny

Along with extra innings in the last game before the All-Star break, there was a 46-minute delay in the fourth inning that started with a lightning bolt and a loud clap of thunder.

The Twins had padded a 1-0 lead in the top of the ninth with two unearned runs off All-Star closer Joe Nathan, whose throwing error against his former team led to a run before Denard Span hit a sacrifice fly.

Then Kinsler, one of eight Rangers going to the All-Star game, led off the ninth reaching on a two-base throwing error before Glen Perkins threw a wild pitch. Elvis Andrus then had an RBI groundout before slugger Josh Hamilton popped out to third base.

But the Rangers, who had only four hits to that point, then had four consecutive two-out hits. That included Michael Young's two-run single that tied the game at 3.

"We had two outs and nobody on and a two-run lead, I just had to get one out and I didn't get the out," Perkins said. "They're a good-hitting team. I broke (Adrian) Beltre's bat, he got it in there. (Nelson) Cruz had a good at-bat against me, I left a pitch up and he hit it hard the other way and then Young, I had an opportunity to throw him a two-strike slider and it just goes back to me not being able to put guys away."

After a season-worst five-game losing streak, the Rangers have won consecutive games 4-3 in extra innings.

"It was huge," manager Ron Washington said. "We certainly needed to continue to move forward off of (Saturday). ... We just kept battling and in the ninth inning, I think we showed the character that we have in that clubhouse. We didn't quit."

After the bright flash and thunder when Rangers starter Roy Oswalt was preparing to throw a pitch in the fourth, catcher Napoli and Minnesota batter Ryan Doumit quickly scrambled to their respective dugouts. Baserunner Josh Willingham dropped to his knees near first base and the game was immediately stopped, about 10 minutes before the rain began.

Rangers officials said the lightning struck north of stadium and didn't hit the facility. There were no reports of damage or any injuries.

"My heart stopped when I heard the thunder at the stadium. Glad no one heard me scream like a little girl too!! Lol," Twins right fielder Ben Revere tweeted during the ensuing delay.

"Never heard anything like that, scared everybody who saw it," Gardenhire said. "That was loud, the loudest I've ever heard. Right in the middle of it, that's pretty amazing stuff."

Scott Feldman (3-6), the eighth Rangers pitcher, worked the last two innings.

Twins rookie Cole De Vries pitched seven scoreless innings. The right-hander struck out five while allowing three singles, two of them to Kinsler.

The other All-Stars on the majors' top-hitting team - Elvis Andrus, Josh Hamilton, Beltre and Napoli -- were a combined 0-for-9 with three strikeouts, a walk and a sacrifice bunt against De Vries.

"Cole de Vries was unbelievable, throws two innings four days ago and comes in the way he did," Gardenhire said. "That's pretty spectacular for a young man throwing the ball the way he did."

Turning point

Young led off the 13th against Alex Burnett (2-2) with a double into the right-field corner. He was forced out at home on Craig Gentry's grounder to shortstop Brian Dozier, whose error in the ninth set up Texas for a tying rally.

But the bases were still loaded for Kinsler.

After Young's double, Murphy had been intentionally walked before Mike Napoli reached on an infield single before Gentry's grounder.

"A lot of really good things happened there," Gardenhire said. "Unfortunately, we just couldn't nail it down, we couldn't finish it off."

Numbers game

• 10: Consecutive games in which 1B Justin Morneau has recorded a hit. He entered Sunday with 13 hits -- including two doubles and a home run -- in his previous 37 at-bats (.351).

Health watch

• There is still no timetable for the return of Twins RHP Carl Pavano (right shoulder), manager Ron Gardenhire told 1500 ESPN.

• RHP Matt Capps (right shoulder) is slated to make rehab appearances on Monday and Wednesday.

On deck

• Monday to Thursday: All-Star break.
• Friday: vs. Oakland, 7:10 p.m. Twins LHP Francisco Liriano (3-7, 5.08 earned-run average) vs. TBD.

© The Associated Press