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MIN@TEX: Kubel drills a two-run shot to right-center

ARLINGTON -- Over his 10 seasons at the helm of the Minnesota Twins, Ron Gardenhire said he couldn't remember a performance quite like the one his club had against the Rangers on Monday night.

After all, his team surrendered 20 runs on 27 hits, both highs in the Majors this season, and he even had to turn to Michael Cuddyer to pitch in relief in a 20-6 rout by the Rangers at the Ballpark in Arlington.

The 20 runs allowed by the Twins were the second-most in team history, trailing only a 23-6 loss to the Royals on April 6, 1974, and surpassed the 19 runs Gardenhire's club allowed in a 19-6 loss to Detroit on May 24, 2008.

"It was an ugly night for us," Gardenhire said. "Probably the worst I've had here as manager, as far as runs scored. A bad night for us, and we have to find a way to regroup tomorrow."

The Twins were simply rocked by the Rangers, who became just the third team since 1900 to score at least three runs in each of the first five innings of a game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

It caused Gardenhire to joke about the 3-3-3-5-4 on the scoreboard over those five innings.

"The first five innings looked like a ZIP code," Gardenhire said. "So that tells you how it went for us. I think that's somewhere in New York, 33354. That's not good when you have a ZIP code for the first five innings of the game. So we'll leave it at that."

Right-hander Nick Blackburn was shelled by the Rangers, allowing nine runs (six earned) on 11 hits over just 2 2/3 innings. Blackburn had given up nine runs in a start once before, but lasted 3 1/3 innings in that outing against the Tigers on May 5, 2009.

His rough outing against Texas also marked the first time a Minnesota pitcher allowed nine runs in an outing since Glen Perkins gave up nine against the Angels on Aug. 2, 2009. Additionally, Blackburn became just the second starting pitching this season to allow as many as 11 hits in fewer than three innings pitched, joining Rays right-hander Wade Davis, who surrendered 12 hits and seven runs in 2 2/3 innings against the Rangers on May 30.

"I don't think I threw more than two or three strikes below the knees the entire night," Blackburn said. "Being a sinkerball pitcher, that's not a very good way to be successful and get some outs."

The Rangers scored early and often against Blackburn, with three runs coming in the first inning on an RBI double from Josh Hamilton and a two-run homer from Michael Young.

"We came out with a lot of energy," Young said. "Obviously you never expect a game like this. When you have a game like this, you remember what it's like to be on the other side. We have a lot of respect for the Twins. They are a very professional team. We expect a tough game tomorrow."

The Rangers added three more in the second, keyed by a throwing error from left fielder Delmon Young that scored a run before Hamilton added his second RBI double and Young brought home another run with a single.

It was more of the same in the third, as Ian Kinsler hit a three-run homer off Blackburn to give the Rangers a 9-0 lead. Blackburn was removed for left-hander Jose Mijares after giving up a two-out infield single to Elvis Andrus.

Mijares was able to get out of the third, but struggled from there, allowing five runs in the fourth while recording just one out. Mitch Moreland plated two runs on a bases-loaded double before Endy Chavez brought home a run with a single off Mijares' foot. Kinsler then provided a run-scoring single before Mijares made an error on a comebacker from Andrus that loaded the bases.

The Twins opted to bring in left-hander Chuck James, who allowed a sacrifice fly to Hamilton, but was able to get out of the inning without any further damage. James, though, surrendered four runs in the fifth inning, before left-hander Phil Dumatrait finally held the Rangers scoreless in the sixth to mark the first time Texas didn't score in an inning.

The Twins' offense, meanwhile, was held in check by left-hander Derek Holland, who allowed just five hits and an unearned run over six innings. Minnesota scored its lone run off Holland in the fourth on a double-play groundout from Cuddyer.

Cuddyer was later called on to pitch the eighth inning, becoming the first Twins position player to take the mound since first baseman John Moses, who pitched two games in the 1990 season, the last coming on July 31 against the California Angels.

The first baseman touched 88 mph with his fastball, but was a little wild, missing the strike zone by multiple feet on several occasions before escaping the inning unscathed despite loading the bases with one out.

"Obviously, the circumstances for me getting out there aren't what you want, but I was excited," said Cuddyer, who last pitched in high school. "It was fun out there. I got to work through some trouble. I was just surprised I threw some strikes."

Cuddyer, though, was also quick to point out that the loss counts the same in the standings as a 1-0 defeat, and that he expects his club to bounce back.

"It's only one loss, as bad as the loss was," Cuddyer said "It's only one loss, so they're not going to get credit for two and we're not going to get credit for two losses. We just have to come in tomorrow and find a way to win." Comments