MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Chad Allen got his start in Minnesota, which made getting the game-winning hit against his former team that much more special.
Playing in the Metrodome for the first time since he blew out his knee in 2001, Allen hit an RBI double off Joe Nathan in the 11th inning to lift the Texas Rangers to a 9-6 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Friday night."To come back where you used to play for the first time and get a hit like that, it's nice," said Allen, whose 35 hits in spring training in 1999 is still a Twins record. "It's a nice way to come back to where you started and do what I did tonight."Michael Young went 2-for-6 with a homer and triple, Richard Hidalgo was 3-for-5 with a homer and a double and Joaquin Benoit
pitched 3 1/3 innings of hitless relief to help the Rangers rally from a 6-2 deficit.With the score tied at 6 heading into the 11th, the Rangers got three straight hits off Nathan (1-1), the last coming on Allen's double that glanced off of right fielder Jacque Jones, who lost the ball in the lights.The Rangers added two more when Mark Teixeira beat out an infield hit to shortstop. The ball glanced off Nathan's calf and Nick Punto made a nice diving stop on the play, but his throw pulled Justin Morneau off of first base, and Sandy Alomar and Allen both scored to cap an improbable comeback.It was that kind of night for the Twins, who had several uncharacteristic miscues that led them to believe that something was in the air."I'll blame it on Friday the 13th," Nathan said. "We just had some bad breaks there."In addition to Jones' trouble on Allen's hit and Teixeira's infield single off Nathan's calf, Gold Glove center fielder Torii Hunter just missed robbing Hidalgo of a homer."It's the first time I remember that we've got a break the other way," Texas manager Buck Showalter said.Francisco Cordero came on to record his American League-leading 12th save and Doug Brocail (3-0) got the win despite getting just one out in the 10th.The Twins scored in each of the first four innings to take a 6-2 lead and chase Texas starter Ryan Drese.Coming off a six-hitter in a victory over Cleveland in his last start, Drese gave up six runs and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings, his shortest outing of the season.But Benoit was superb, holding the Twins hitless over the next 3 1/3 innings to keep Texas in the game."It was already a 6-2 game and nothing was going to get worse than that," Benoit said. "I wanted to give a chance for my team to fight back. They did and they got the win."The Rangers scored three runs in the seventh off Twins starter Joe Mays and got the tying run in the eighth when Teixeira hit an RBI single off Juan Rincon, who was pitching for the first time since serving a 10-day suspension for testing positive for
steroids.Mays cruised through the first six innings, allowing just a two-run homer to Young, before faltering in the seventh.Alfonso Soriano reached on an error by shortstop Jason Bartlett
and scored on a double by Kevin Mench. Two batters later, Hidalgo hit a two-run homer that hit off Hunter's glove to make the score 6-5."I just didn't execute the good pitches when I needed to," Mays said. "Nine times out of 10 he catches that ball. If Torii catches that ball, it's a whole different ballgame. We're sitting in the win column right now."Mays gave up five runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings with two strikeouts. Nathan gave up three runs and five hits in his lone inning.Rincon, who maintains that he did not knowingly take a banned substance, was shaky in his first outing since being suspended on May 3. After receiving a nice ovation from the home crowd, Rincon allowed the first three hitters to reach. Young led off the inning with a triple and scored on the single by Teixeira to tie the game at 6, squandering a solid start from Mays.Rincon was relieved by J.C. Romero in the ninth and gave up one run and three hits in 1 1/3 innings.Joe Mauer and Hunter each had two RBI for the Twins, who fell to six games behind the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central.
The Twins are 6-0 in series when they win the first game and 1-5 when they don't. ... Former Twins first baseman Kent Hrbek, Tony Oliva and boxing great Roberto Duran were part of the pregame festivities. ... Soriano's throwing error in the first was nothing new. The Rangers entered the game leading the AL with a .987 fielding percentage. But Soriano now has seven of the team's 18 errors this season.