Martin, Garza finish for Rangers


ARLINGTON, Texas -- For Leonys Martin and Matt Garza, Saturday night was all about finishing.

Martin gave the Rangers another walk-off winner, ripping a bases-loaded single up the middle with two outs in the bottom of the ninth for a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins to set off yet another wild celebration.

Garza kept the score at 1-1 in the seventh when it looked like he might not, pitching his way out of a jam with two runners on and one out and his pitch count rising over 100.

It was a much-needed win for the Rangers, who hold a two-game lead on the Oakland A's in the American League West with 27 games left. The A's beat Tampa Bay 2-1 as they continue to play well against a rough portion of their schedule.

As has been the theme of their season, the Rangers had to grind out another win, their 20th of August. It's just the fourth time in franchise history they've won 20-plus in a month and the first time since June 2010.

Martin was charged with ending the game in the bottom of the ninth. He had been hitless in his last 10 at-bats, but he wasn't burdened by that as he battled Twins reliever Brian Duensing.

Martin fell behind with a 1-2 count and shortened his swing and lined a single back up the middle to score Alex Rios from third base. Rios had started the rally with a one-out double down the left-field line.

Martin said he was concentrating on having a quality at-bat.

"I wasn’t looking for a homer," Martin said. "I was looking for a pitch to hit, stay within myself, and get a hit anywhere. The key is to win the game."

It was an impressive moment for the 25-year-old center fielder, who had the second walk-off hit of his career. Martin had a three-run homer against the Angels earlier this season.

"He wasn't trying to get too out of control," manager Ron Washington said. "He wasn't trying to do more than the situation asked for and in that situation all we needed was a base hit. He stayed short and hit it up the middle."

Martin's big moment was set up by Garza, who bounced back from allowing a home run to Twins leadoff hitter Brian Dozier to start the game to keep Minnesota off the scoreboard into the seventh inning.

Garza found himself in trouble in the top of the seventh as two walks gave the Twins an opening with one out and the game tied at 1-1. Garza, who was over 100 pitches, rallied by getting Clete Thomas to fly out to left field and then striking out Darin Mastroianni.

There was action in the Rangers' bullpen at the time, but even on a hot night, Garza wasn't about to give up the game to a reliever.

"I didn't want to come out," Garza said. "I just don't like to get beat. I didn't want to give in right there. It was two guys fighting. I want to be the better guy there."