Series: Game 1 of 3

Texas leads 1-0 (as of 7/7)

Game 1: Friday, July 7
Game 2: Saturday, July 8
Game 3: Sunday, July 9

Twins 4

(46-38, 16-28 away)

Rangers 9

(44-42, 24-24 home)

    8:35 PM ET, July 7, 2006

    Globe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, Texas 

    123456789 R H E
    MIN 001011100 4 9 0
    TEX 24200100 - 9 14 0

    W: J. Wasdin (2-1)

    L: C. Silva (4-9)

    Rangers' booming bats send Twins to third straight loss

    ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- The Texas Rangers have rediscovered their home run strokes.

    Michael Young and Gary Matthews Jr. connected, sending the Rangers to a 9-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Friday night.

    Texas hit a club record and major league-leading 260 homers in 2005, four short of the big league standard, but started the night with only 91 long balls this season -- 10th in the AL.

    The Rangers have started to show some power lately, scoring 18 runs in the past two games with the aid of six homers and 15 extra-base hits.

    Hank Blalock added three hits and three RBI for the Rangers.

    "We've put up a couple of good games in a row," Blalock said. "We've been kind of streaky this year. So hopefully we can ride this for a while."

    Joe Mauer, Jason Kubel and Justin Morneau each hit a solo homer for Minnesota, which has lost three straight after an 11-game winning streak. Starting pitcher Carlos Silva left early with a strained knee.

    The Rangers scored eight times in the first three innings and spot starter John Wasdin was the beneficiary.

    "I can't say enough about the offense," said Wasdin, making his second start since coming off the disabled list July 1. "There have been some ups and downs. The boys are on fire and they're ready to go."

    Wasdin (2-1) protected the big lead, giving up three runs, seven hits and three walks in five-plus innings to help Texas win for the third time in four games.

    Wasdin started in place of Kevin Millwood, who won't take the mound until after the All-Star break while he recovers from a strained right biceps. Millwood, who signed a five-year, $60 million contract as a free agent last December, is tied with Vicente Padilla for the team lead with eight victories.

    "John can fill a number of roles," Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. "It's good to have him back. Every club needs one of those guys."

    Silva (4-9) departed with a strained right knee in the second inning after struggling in his second consecutive start. He gave up seven runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings to Milwaukee on July 1, and Texas knocked him around for five runs and six hits in 1 2/3 innings.

    The Rangers jumped on Silva in the first inning when Matthews led off with a double and Young ripped a 420-foot homer for a 2-0 edge.

    Texas left runners on second and third in the first, and when the Rangers loaded the bases with two outs in the second, Twins trainer Rick McWane and manager Ron Gardenhire went to the mound and removed Silva from the game.

    Silva said he caught his spikes on the mound while pitching to Matthews in the first inning and twisted the knee, but he remained in the game and faced five batters in the second.

    "I wasn't able to use my back leg to push off," Silva said. "I had no power. If you can't use your legs, it's hard to pitch."

    Silva will have an MRI on Monday when the team returns home.

    Mark Teixeira greeted reliever Willie Eyre with a two-run double in the second, and Blalock followed with a two-run single to extend Texas' lead to 6-0.

    After Morneau's RBI double produced Minnesota's first run in the third, Matthews' ninth homer in the third off Eyre gave the Rangers an 8-1 advantage.

    Trying to climb out of an early hole hurt the Twins' offense.

    "When you get down like that, you can't do much," Gardenhire said. "You've got to go base to base and we don't like to play like that. When you have to play defense all the time, it puts a dagger in you."

    Mauer's leadoff homer in the fifth and Kubel's leadoff drive in the sixth pulled the Twins to 8-3, but Blalock's run-scoring single in the sixth made it 9-3.

    Morneau's solo shot in the seventh off Ron Mahay reduced the deficit to 9-4.

    Game notes

    Texas hadn't scored a first-inning run in 14 games. ... Wasdin improved to 6-1 in 19 career appearances against the Twins. ... Minnesota RHP Pat Neshek made his major league debut after being called up from Triple-A Rochester on Thursday. Neshek allowed one hit in two shutout innings. ... The Twins have lost eight of their last 11 games against the AL West after winning 10 of their first 14.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press