When Ian Kinsler hit the third pitch Brian Duensing threw over the left-field wall, it proved to not be an isolated incident, but a sign of things to come.
ARLINGTON -- When Ian Kinsler hit the third pitch Brian Duensing threw over the left-field wall, it proved to not be an isolated incident, but a sign of things to come.
The Rangers hit Duensing early and often as the right-hander gave up nine runs on 10 hits, including two home runs, over 2 1/3 innings as the Twins lost for the 10th time in their last 11 games, falling to the Rangers, 9-3, at the Ballpark in Arlington on Saturday.
"I didn't do my job at all," Duensing said. "It sounded like [Kinsler] got it off the end of the bat. It looked like a routine play and it kept going. I had an approach I wanted to take with him and I did that. I didn't execute very well. It's obviously discouraging, especially when you give up a leadoff homer. But it happened."
After Kinsler hit his team-record 25th career leadoff homer and fifth this season, Nelson Cruz gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead in the first with a two-out RBI double. Mitch Moreland followed back-to-back singles by Craig Gentry and Geovany Soto with a three-run home run in the second, his 14th of the year. The homer went 463 feet, landing in the upper deck above the right-field wall, making it the third-longest home run hit at the Ballpark in Arlington.
"You can work and throw bullpens as much as you want, but if you don't translate it to the game, it's pointless," Duensing said. "I was trying to go fastball in, it just didn't get there. It didn't run, it didn't sink. It went flat and [Moreland] got it. That's a good lineup over there. That's why they're so good -- they make a pitcher make mistakes and when they do, they make you pay."
Duensing gave up four straight hits with one out in the third before leaving the bases loaded for Alex Burnett, who struck out Moreland, then gave up a bases-clearing triple to Kinsler. After allowing just one earned run in six innings of a 7-2 victory over the A's on Monday, Duensing gave up a career-high nine runs Saturday. He has not won multiple games in the same month or picked up a victory in consecutive starts since last July.
"We didn't make enough pitches," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "From the first hitter on, they got one up and banged it into the seats. With Moreland, he makes a couple of nice pitches and gets two strikes on him, but puts one right down the middle that ends up in the seats. That's just the way it went."
By the time Justin Morneau ended a 10-game homerless drought with a 427-foot solo shot in the fourth, also to the upper deck above right field, the Rangers led, 9-0. An inning after Pedro Florimon's RBI single in the fifth, Morneau, who tied a career high with four hits, was thrown out by center fielder Craig Gentry trying to score from second base on Jamey Carroll's single. Back-to-back doubles by Ben Revere and Joe Mauer in the seventh gave Minnesota its only other run.
"I'm glad the guys kept swinging," Gardenhire said. "But you can't do that to start a ballgame. You can't keep putting them in a hole. It doesn't work that way."
"Their best guys just aren't producing right now," Rangers manager Ron Washington said of the Twins. "Our guys are doing a good job of holding them down. We all go through those times during the year. That's what they're going through right now."
Alex Burnett, Casey Fien, Tyler Robertson and Glen Perkins combined to throw 5 2/3 of scoreless innings in relief of Duensing. The bullpen has thrown 14 1/3 innings in the first three games of this series, posting a 2.51 ERA. It held the Rangers to four hits while striking out three without issuing a walk in Saturday's loss -- the Twins' fifth in a row, marking their fifth losing streak of at least five this season. The Rangers have outscored them, 27-9, in the series.
"That bad day probably came at the worst day possible," Duensing said. "Our bullpen has been worn out. But I felt like the guys that came out and did a good job, kept us in the game as much as they could and kept chipping away. It was just a really bad day."
"It's tough, trying to figure out how you're going to get to nine innings from a bullpen that's already to beaten up," Gardenhire said. "That's no fun. It takes you out of your offense. You ran a couple times, but it's silly to make mistakes when you're down like that. We need to get off to a better start, bottom line."