Rangers 8, Twins 7: Josh Hamilton Game-Winning Home Run in 10th

Matthew IrbySenior Analyst IMay 22, 2008

The Rangers pulled themselves back to within one game of a .500 record with an extra-innings 8-7 win over the Minnesota Twins.  The win and a series split extending the Rangers run of not losing a series to eight.  The Rangers had won seven consecutive series leading up to this four game series with the Twins.

The Rangers who scored all 10 of their runs last night in the final four innings, seemed to keep that momentum rolling into today's game with four runs in the first inning.

Ian Kinsler and Michael Young started the game off with a single and double, respectively.  Josh Hamilton's sacrifice fly scored Kinsler and then Milton Bradley's single to center scored Young. 

Later in the inning, Gerald Laird reached on an infield single, after an error by first baseman Michael Cuddyer, all runners moved up 90 feet, which included Bradley scoring.  The next batter Marlon Byrd grounded out to shortstop, scoring David Murphy.

In the bottom of the second, the Twins cut the deficit in half when Carlos Gomez singled in Mike Redmond and Alexi Casilla with two outs.

Gomez added another run for the Twins with his fourth home run of the season in the bottom of the 5th inning.

Texas extended their lead back to three when struggling first baseman Chris Shelton stroked a two-RBI double to deep left field scoring both Laird and Byrd.

Minnesota quickly responded in the bottom half of the sixth with two runs of their own.  Relief pitcher Jamey Wright got the first two hitters of the inning out, but after that struggled to throw strikes.  A single, walk, and hit batter later Wright faced the bases loaded, in which he walked Brendan Harris scoring Mike Lamb.

The Rangers went back to the bullpen in attempts to get out of the inning, but reliever Frank Francisco performed no better.  He walked Michael Cuddyer, scoring Casilla.

In the seventh inning, Laird acted on a little deja vu, when an infield ball and an error by pitcher Matt Guerrier moved Laird to second, Murphy to third, and scored Bradley, giving the Rangers a 7-5 lead.

However in the bottom of the eighth the Twins loaded the bases with two outs, when Justin Morneau singled to center field scoring both Casilla and Gomez.

Both teams were held scoreless in the ninth, forcing extra baseball for the crowd at the Metrodome.

In the tenth inning after back-to-back strikeouts by Kinsler and Young, Hamilton came to the plate.  Already leading the league in RBIs, he needed a hit to take the lead in AL Batting Title and a home run to take the AL lead in homers, Hamilton didn't disappoint. 

His 12th home run of the season went opposite field just over the left field wall.  It was Hamilton's Major-League leading 53rd RBI and improved his batting average to .335 passing Twins catcher, Joe Mauer.

The Rangers leave Minnesota for a three-game series in Cleveland.  Texas will face the toughest part of the Indian-rotation, Fausto Carmona, Cliff Lee, and C.C. Sabathia.