ARLINGTON, Texas — Joe Mauer homered twice and Delmon Young hit a tiebreaking two-run shot in the seventh inning to help the Minnesota Twins spoil Ivan Rodriguez's return to Texas with a 9-6 victory against the Rangers on Tuesday night.
Young also had a tying two-run double for the Twins, who piled up 12 hits and eight runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings as part of their rally from a 5-0 deficit.
The Rangers, who acquired their former All-Star catcher earlier Tuesday in a trade with the Houston Astros, dropped into a tie with Boston for the AL wild-card lead.
Ian Kinsler hit a three-run homer for Texas, and speedy leadoff hitter Julio Borbon went 3-for-4 with four steals, giving him nine hits and seven steals in three starts since Friday.
After Young's double keyed a four-run sixth that wiped out a 5-1 deficit, the Twins briefly fell behind again before taking control in the seventh.
The decisive inning started with a tying homer from Mauer, his second leadoff shot of the game and part of a 3 for 5 night that kept his major league-leading average at .380. Brendan Harris, who replaced Jason Kubel after Kubel fouled a pitch off his left knee in the first inning, followed with a single. Two outs later, Young's drive off Jason Jennings (2-4) bounced off the top of the right-center field wall into the Rangers bullpen for an 8-6 Twins lead.
The Rangers had gone ahead 6-5 on a strange sequence in the sixth. With runners on first and second, Michael Young hit a dribbler to the right of the mound, and Twins reliever Philip Humber flipped the ball toward a vacated third base. The ball rolled to the wall behind the bag, allowing Omar Vizquel to score. Jesse Crain escaped further damage by getting Marlon Byrd on a flyout with the bases loaded.
The key out against Byrd led to Crain (4-4) getting the win, and Joe Nathan pitched a scoreless ninth for his 30th save. It was his first save opportunity in August.
By letting a 5-0 lead get away, Scott Feldman missed a chance to become one of the fastest Rangers to 13 wins in club history.
The trouble started when homered leading off the fourth inning. It was one of four extra-base hits against Feldman, who had allowed all singles in his first three August starts. In the sixth, four singles by the Twins preceded Delmon Young's tying two-run double.
Jennings replaced Feldman with two outs in the sixth and kept the score tied by getting Orlando Cabrera to fly out with the bases loaded.
Carl Pavano gave up five earned runs in four innings, but that was quite a bit better than his only other appearance in Arlington. Pitching for Cleveland the first week of the season, he gave up nine runs in one inning of a 12-8 loss to the Rangers.
Borbon reached first and stole a base all three times he faced Pavano. In the first, he scored when Josh Hamilton grounded into a double play. In the third, he was thrown out at third base on a grounder by Michael Young, but Hamilton followed with an RBI double. Three batters later, Kinsler put the Rangers ahead 5-0 with a three-run homer to left.
NOTES: Twins 1B Justin Morneau has what team medical personnel think is an inner-ear infection that is causing dizziness, and he wasn't in the starting lineup. Morneau, the team leader with 28 homers and 94 RBIs, missed Monday night's game. He'll continue to take medication and is day-to-day. … Rangers OF Nelson Cruz went 0-for-3 with a strikeout for Oklahoma City in a 5-0 loss to Colorado Springs, which had four pitchers combine on a no-hitter. It was the second no-hitter in five days in Oklahoma City. … The Rangers had six steals three days after they set a club record with eight against Boston.