Arlington, TX – Ian Kinsler ripped a three-run triple and a solo homer to back six solid innings from Ryan Dempster as the Texas Rangers handled the Minnesota Twins, 9-3, in the third test of a four-game series at Rangers Ballpark.
Mitch Moreland crushed a three-run homer, while Geovany Soto went 2-for-4 with an RBI single and Nelson Cruz finished 2-for-4 with an RBI double for the defending American League champs, who have won four straight and seven of their last eight.
Dempster (3-1) scattered eight hits and allowed two runs with seven strikeouts and a pair of walks to earn his third consecutive win.
"It's just more exciting when you know you're going out there every day with that feeling that you're going to win a ballgame," Dempster said. "It nice to play for something, and not try to spoil someone else's season. It's a lot of fun, and I'm happy to be here, and I just try and do my part when I'm asked to."
Justin Morneau went 4-for-4 with a solo home run, while Pedro Florimon Jr. and Joe Mauer drove in a run apiece for the skidding Twins, who have lost five straight and 10 of their last 11.
Brian Duensing (3-9) was hammered for nine runs on 10 hits in just 2 1/3 innings, losing for the third time in his last four starts.
"It started right from the get-go, and they kind of pounded away there," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "They put us in a deep hole. It's tough to dig out of stuff like that."
The Rangers opened the scoring in their first at-bat. Kinsler led off with a towering shot over the left-field wall. Two batters later, Josh Hamilton smoked a double and scored on Cruz's two-bagger into the right-field gap.
Soto and Craig Gentry started the Texas second with consecutive singles and Moreland brought them home when he crushed a three-run long ball into the right-field seats, extending the Rangers lead to 5-0.
The Rangers added four more runs to open up a 9-0 advantage in the third inning. Cruz ripped a one-out double and David Murphy singled before Soto plated Cruz with a base hit. Gentry walked to load the bases and Kinsler cleared them with a triple into right-center field.
Morneau got the Twins on the board in the fourth as he crushed a fastball from Dempster over the wall in right, cutting the margin to 9-1.
Florimon singled home Jamey Carroll in the fifth and Mauer doubled in Ben Revere in the seventh to cut the Twins' deficit to six, but the Twins were unable make up any more ground.
With the victory, the Rangers improved to 75-51 overall and matched their best mark in club history after 126 games, also achieved in 1999. They are also a season-high 24 games above .500 for the first time ... Texas has secured its third consecutive series victory and is 5-1-0 in series play in August ... With a stolen base in the first inning, Revere became the fourth player in Twins history to record consecutive 30-steal seasons. Chuck Knoblauch stole 30-plus in four straight seasons from 1994-97, while Rod Carew stole 30-plus in four straight from 1973-76, and Cesar Tovar stole 30-plus in three straight from 1968-70 ... Moreland's homer traveled an estimated 463 feet ...Minnesota went 3-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left eight on base.