Minneapolis, MN – Matt Harrison pitched eight innings and Ian Kinsler hit a solo home run as the Texas Rangers downed the Minnesota Twins, 4-1, in the opener of a three-game set.
Harrison (2-0) gave up just one run on seven hits with two walks and four strikeouts for the Rangers, who have won five of their last six games. Elvis Andrus went 3-for-4 with a run scored.
Danny Valencia drove in the lone run of the game for the Twins, who came into the series having taken the final two games of a three-game set with the Angels. Anthony Swarzak (0-2) gave up four runs on nine hits over seven innings in the loss.
Minnesota had the initial lead of the game as Valencia's sacrifice fly plated Josh Willingham, who reached base on a one-out walk and went to third when Ryan Doumit followed with a single.
The Rangers, though, pushed across three in the fourth to take the lead. Andrus singled to start the frame and Josh Hamilton followed with a single. Consecutive base hits from Adrian Beltre and Michael Young each scored a run and David Murphy added a sac fly later in the frame.
Kinsler homered for the fourth time this season with a leadoff shot in the seventh for a 4-1 advantage.
Minnesota left men on first and third in the fifth and had men on base in each inning after.
The ninth saw Alexi Ogando take the mound to close the game and he hit Willingham and Doumit followed with a single to start the inning. Valencia then hit into a fielder's choice that saw a forceout at second, and Ogando fanned Chris Parmelee then got pinch-hitter Sean Burroughs to foul out for his first save of the season.
Minnesota took five of eight from Texas last season...Going back to last season, Harrison is 6-0 in his last seven starts...Yu Darvish pitches for Texas on Saturday and he will be opposed by Nick Blackburn for Minnesota.