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Rangers fall apart late in third straight loss

Rangers fall apart late in third straight loss

MINNEAPOLIS -- C.J. Wilson indicted himself for two walks. Right-fielder David Murphy blamed himself for not catching a fly ball at the wall.

Manager Ron Washington grumbled about letting too many runs come across with two outs.

All came into play on a sunny afternoon in Minnesota when the Twins overcame the Rangers' 2-0 lead and pulled away with an 8-3 victory on Saturday afternoon at Target Field. The Rangers have now lost three straight games.

Orlando Hudson tied it up with a two-out, two-run home run in the sixth and then the Twins blew it open with six runs off of Wilson and reliever Chris Ray in the seventh.

"Today was really frustrating because I had control of the game," Wilson said. "The team gave me a lead and I didn't hold it. Your only job as a starting pitcher is to pitch innings and hold leads and I didn't do it."

Julio Borbon was 2-for-3 with a pair of run-scoring singles off Twins starter Carl Pavano. But the middle of the order -- Michael Young, Ian Kinsler, Vladimir Guerrero and Josh Hamilton -- went 2-for-16 on the afternoon with no RBIs.

Young missed a chance for a run in the third. He batted with Borbon at third and Elvis Andrus at second with one out and lofted a fly ball to right. It appeared more than deep enough for an easy sacrifice fly but the wind blowing in pushed the ball back. It ended up being caught in shallow right field and outfielder Jason Kubel was able to throw out Borbon trying to score to end the inning.

"When you're not scoring runs you have to take a chance," Washington said. "He had to make a perfect throw. So what did he do? He made a perfect throw. If it's off by a little bit, we're in there."

Wilson still took a 2-0 lead into the sixth and retired the first two hitters on a groundout and a flyout. At that point he had retired 17 of 18 batters. But then his whole afternoon changed.

Denard Span singled to right and Hudson hit a 1-0 cut fastball over the left-field wall to tie the game.

"It was a cutter in," Wilson said. "He stepped in the bucket and whacked it. I didn't think that ball was going over the fence. I thought it was popup. But it went out. It was a bad pitch."

To that point, the afternoon belonged entirely to Wilson. Then everything changed.

"Hudson putting it in the seats kind of woke us all up because Wilson pretty much dominated us all the way up to that point," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "When a guy is dominating like that, you're waiting for something elective to happen. And it did with O-Dog."

Joe Mauer grounded out to end the inning but Wilson's troubles were only starting. He began the seventh inning by getting ahead 1-and-2 on Justin Morneau before missing on three straight pitches to walk him. It was the first of two such walks in the inning for Wilson.

Michael Cuddyer followed with a long fly to right. David Murphy went back but right as he was about to catch it, he bumped hard into the wall. That seemed to distract him for just a moment and the ball caromed off the wall just above the glove.

"I thought I had another step," Murphy said. "It doesn't hurt in that situation to time it, make a little jump and it's an easy out. Obviously that pretty much changed the game."

The ball went for a double with Morneau stopping at third. Wilson, in another lefty vs. lefty matchup, again got ahead 1-and-2 on Jason Kubel before throwing three straight balls for a walk that loaded the bases.

"Obviously you can't walk guys with nobody on base," Wilson said. "I had them both 1-2. They were outs. That's an out count, not a walk count. It's a failure on my part. I hate to come out with a lead when the bullpen has to come in and bail me out. I'm not happy about it."

Washington called on right-hander Chris Ray, who leads the American League in appearances and had allowed just four runs in his past 17 innings over 19 appearances. He had also held opponents to a .169 average for the season.

But all of that didn't matter. Everything suddenly went up in flames in the matter of three sliders. Delmon Young hit the first one into the left-field corner for a two-run double and J.J. Hardy, with the infield in, lifted the third one into short left that fell for a two-run single.

"I thought the pitch to Young was a good pitch," Washington said. "First-pitch slider and he just went down and got it."

As Wilson watched in frustration from the bench, the Twins were sitting on a 6-2 lead. He was being charged with five runs on the afternoon and his ERA -- once the best in the league -- went to 3.48. He is 0-2 with a 9.56 ERA in his past three starts after going 3-1 with a 1.48 ERA in his first seven.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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