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Wells wins Rangers debut behind Teixeira homers

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Kip Wells might merely be a rent-a-player for
the Texas Rangers. For now, the right-hander is only concerned
about helping them stay in the pennant race.

Wells made a successful first start for Texas, Mark Teixeira
homered twice and the Rangers beat Minnesota 10-2 on Wednesday to
give the Twins their first losing homestand this season.

Acquired in a deadline-day trade with Pittsburgh, Wells got his
first win as an American Leaguer since 2001, when he was with
Chicago. He pitched into the sixth inning and was responsible for
one run while striking out two.

"Your goal is to have a quality start and give the team a
chance to win," said Wells, who will be a free agent this fall.

And if he's not included in the long-range plans?

"That's not something to be preoccupied with," Wells said.
"You have enough to worry about trying to throw strikes and get
people out."

Boof Bonser (2-3), an emergency callup to fill in for rookie
left-hander Francisco Liriano, lasted only four innings and left
trailing 7-0. The blame was widespread, though. The Twins made two
costly errors and hit into six double plays, including one on a
strikeout and thwarted stolen base attempt.

"That's how the game goes," said Bonser, who was sent right
back to Triple-A afterward.

Teixeira homered leading off the second, Gary Matthews Jr. had
an RBI single in the third and the Rangers broke open the game in
the fourth.

Ian Kinsler beat out an infield single when first baseman Justin
Morneau couldn't scoop shortstop Jason Bartlett's rushed,
off-balance throw.

That put two on with two outs, and Gerald Laird followed with a
two-run double down the left-field line for a 4-0 lead. Then
Morneau muffed a grounder in the hole by Matthews, an error that
let Laird score.

Michael Young ripped a first-pitch double that soared over
center fielder Torii Hunter to drive in Matthews. Then Carlos Lee
hit a chopper to third that Nick Punto charged. He threw wildly
past first for another error that allowed Young to come home and
make it 7-0.

Bonser, who struck out five, walked two and gave up six hits,
finished the inning but that was it. Only four of the seven runs he
surrendered were earned.

Liriano, 12-2 with a major league-best 1.96 ERA, was scratched
from this start because of inflammation in his forearm. Clearly, he
was missed.

"Anytime you don't have Liriano pitching, it's going to throw
the team off," said catcher Mike Redmond. "When he takes the
mound, we win. That's it. But hey man, that happens in baseball.
We've got to get ourselves back on track."

The Twins surged back into the wild-card race last month, and
they were just two games behind the leaders when the afternoon
began. But concerns about their starting pitching aren't helping
the cause.

Scott Baker was sent back to the minors Tuesday night with a
6.93 ERA. Brad Radke, likely in the final couple of months of his
career, had his last start cut short by ineffectiveness and a sore
shoulder. Carlos Silva has a 6.49 ERA, despite a strong outing on
Monday. Even ace Johan Santana wasn't his usual dominant self in
July.

Pitching has been an annual summer problem for Texas, which
moved back to the .500 mark and began the day three games behind
Oakland in the mediocre AL West.

That's why an effective start by Wells -- who gave up seven hits
and two walks -- was so important.

"At this point I don't care [why]," manager Buck Showalter
said. "I just hope it continues. I haven't had that conversation
with him yet. I'm just trying to leave him alone and let him do his
thing."

After Punto and Joe Mauer singled in the sixth, Wes Littleton
relieved and allowed Torii Hunter's RBI single with the bases
loaded.

The Twins, who put the leadoff man on six times, went 2-4
against the Tigers and Rangers over the past week. They wasted
several chances against Wells -- who went 1-5 with a 6.69 ERA in
seven starts for the Pirates after returning from surgery for a
blocked artery near his right shoulder.

The six double plays turned by the Rangers was a franchise
record.

"To get a win under my belt is well worth the roller coaster
it's been for the last 72 hours," Wells said. "This is a good
place to be. I'm just thankful to have the opportunity to pitch
somewhere."

Game notes
Liriano said he'll make his next start Monday. "It's not a
big deal. It's just a little tight," he said. ... Teixeira has
reached base in a career-high 26 straight games. ... Twins manager
Ron Gardenhire, who has missed three straight games with what has
now been diagnosed as a stomach infection, was scheduled to spend
Wednesday night in the hospital to receive more intravenous fluids.
Team physician Dr. Vijay Eyunni said the manager should be
discharged Thursday and could be ready to return to the dugout for
Friday's game at Kansas City. ... LF Jason Tyner stole a homer from
Young with a leaping catch over the wall in the sixth. ... Matt
Guerrier, returning from a broken thumb that kept him out the last
two months, worked three innings in relief and gave up an RBI
single to Matt Stairs in the seventh.