Rangers Capitalize on Liriano’s Struggles, Pad Wild-Card Lead

Rangers Capitalize on Liriano's Struggles, Pad Wild-Card Lead Thanks to an 8-5 win over the Twins on Monday night, the Rangers extended their wild-card lead to a full game after a solid start from rookie Tommy Hunter.

The impressive rookie lasted 5 2/3 innings and improved to 6-2, allowing four runs on four hits with five strikeouts and three walks. The Rangers bullpen held it down for the most part after his exit, as Darren O'Day, Neftali Feliz, Jason Jennings, C.J. Wilson and Frank Francisco combined for the final 3 1/3 innings of relief. O'Day allowed the only run.

Meanwhile, the Francisco Liriano experiment continues to backfire on the Twins. He lasted just two innings and allowed seven runs. Bobby Keppel and Jose Mijares did an admirable job in middle relief, holding the Rangers to zero runs on two hits through the next five innings before Matt Guerrier allowed a run in the seventh.

Twins catcher Joe Mauer padded his MVP-caliber stats with a solo shot off Hunter in the first, but Texas struck back hard in the bottom of the frame, touching Liriano for three runs, the first of which scored when the hurler hit Marlon Byrd with the bases loaded.

Down 3-1 in the second, Delmon Young's double plated Jason Kubel, but the Rangers got four runs back in the bottom of the second, highlighted by Byrd's two-run single. Byrd finished the night 2-for-4 with three RBIs.

The Twins made a resurgence of sorts in the sixth, starting with a bases-loaded walk to Young. Shortly thereafter, Nick Punto's two-run single made it 7-5, but that was as close as the Twins would get.

Elvis Andrus' triple brought home the Rangers' eighth and final run.

Twins first baseman Justin Morneau left the game in the bottom of the fourth after experiencing dizziness; he was replaced with Alexi Casilla.

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