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Dave Campbell / Associated Press, Published April 15 2012

Twins' Perkins serves up lead, win against Rangers

MINNEAPOLIS – Glen Perkins couldn’t put his pitches where he wanted to.

Josh Hamilton made him and the Minnesota Twins pay for it.

Hamilton’s two-run homer in the eighth capped a three-run inning for Texas and set up Joe Nathan for the save against his former team in a 4-3 victory on Sunday over the Twins, giving the Rangers their first series sweep in Minnesota since 1999.

“We had ’em where we wanted ’em, and I didn’t get it done,” said Perkins, who faced eight batters over the last two games and gave up two doubles, one triple, one homer and one walk.

Perkins walked Ian Kinsler to start the eighth and Elvis Andrus followed with a triple to bring the Rangers within one. Then Hamilton hit the first pitch he saw from Perkins (0-1) an estimated 449 feet into the upper deck above right field, suddenly rendering fine performances by Clete Thomas and Liam Hendriks for the Twins to the background.

Hamilton, who leads the American League with 16 hits, is 6-for-12 in his career with two homers and five RBIs against Perkins. The Rangers won their fourth in a row and raised their AL-best record to 8-2. The Twins have the worst mark in the league at 2-7.

Robbie Ross (2-0) struck out three in relief of Neftali Feliz over two scoreless innings for his second win in as many days. Then Nathan pitched a perfect ninth for his third save in four tries with his new team.

“You’ve got to score runs when you can. It’s been frustrating. Guys are hitting the ball hard and at people and things like that. But you’ve just got to keep plugging away,” said Joe Mauer, who grounded into one of Minnesota’s major league-leading 13 double plays in the eighth inning after Denard Span singled and Jamey Carroll popped up his sacrifice bunt attempt.

Justin Morneau also hit a double-play grounder with two on and one out.

“Stay with him. He’ll be fine. He’s missed a lot of baseball so he’s going to have some hot and cold spells,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He’s taking his hacks. Sometimes he gets a little anxious, but he’s working. It’s a work in progress.”

Thomas, a waiver claim the day after being let go by Detroit, sent a fly ball to the warning track with his first swing in the third inning. He experienced immediately the challenge for left-handers to hit home runs at Target Field.

Texas Minnesota

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Kinsler 2b 4 1 0 0 Span cf 4 1 2 0

Andrus ss 4 1 1 1 JCarrll ss 4 0 2 1

Hamltn cf-lf 4 1 2 2 Mauer c 2 0 0 0

Beltre 3b 4 0 1 0 Mornea dh 4 0 0 0

MYong dh 4 0 3 0 Wlngh lf 4 1 1 0

N.Cruz rf 4 0 1 0 Parmel 1b 4 0 0 0

DvMrp lf 3 0 0 0 Valenci 3b 3 0 1 0

Gentry cf 0 0 0 0 CThms rf 3 1 1 2

Napoli 1b 4 1 1 1 ACasill 2b 3 0 0 0

Torreal c 4 0 1 0

Totals 35 4 10 4 Totals 31 3 7 3

Texas 000 010 030— 4

Minnesota 000 021 000— 3

DP—Texas 2, Minnesota 1. LOB—Texas 6, Minnesota 3. 2B—M.Young 2 (2). 3B—Andrus (1), Span (1). HR—Hamilton (4), Napoli (1), C.Thomas (1). SB—Dav.Murphy (1), Willingham (1). CS—Valencia (1).

IP H R ER BB SO

Texas

Feliz 5 5 3 3 2 3

R.Ross W,2-0 2 1 0 0 0 3

Adams H,5 1 1 0 0 0 0

Nathan S,3-4 1 0 0 0 0 1

Minnesota

Hendriks 6 7 1 1 0 4

Burton H,1 1 0 0 0 0 2

Prkins L,0-1 BS,1-1 0 2 3 3 1 0

Al.Burnett 1 1 0 0 0 0

Maloney 1 0 0 0 0 0

Perkins pitched to 3 batters in the 8th.

Feliz pitched to 3 batters in the 6th.

HBP—by Burton (Dav.Murphy).

T—2:48. A—32,093 (39,500).