ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The short-handed Minnesota couldn't muster enough offense against the Texas Rangers on Saturday night.
Playing without injured catcher Joe Mauer and traded first baseman Justin Morneau, the Twins fell 2-1 to the Rangers on Leonys Martin's two-out, bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth inning.
"We got ahead of a guy and made a good pitch, and they roll one up the middle and there's the ballgame," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Minnesota had started well, with leadoff batter Brian Dozier hitting a home run into the left field seats against Matt Garza.
After that, not much.
The Twins finished with five hits against Garza, Jason Frasor and winning pitcher Joe Nathan (5-2) — another key player from Minnesota's winning years.
Morneau had been traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates earlier Saturday. Minnesota could have used the third-leading home run hitter in team history, leading this year's Twins with 17 homers and 74 RBIs.
"To have him not out there was a little strange early in the game, and then you just go play baseball," Gardenhire said.
The Twins played well. After giving up a first-inning run on Adrian Beltre's sacrifice fly, right-hander Mike Pelfrey did not allow a run over the next six innings.
"We like the way he's throwing the baseball. This was probably his best outing, if not for the year, in a long time," Gardenhire said.
"After the second inning I thought I had all four pitches working. I felt fresh. Unfortunately the guy on the other side was pretty good too," Pelfrey said.
Gardenhire mixed and matched three relief pitchers in the ninth inning before the left-handed-hitting Martin, hitless in his first four at-bats, sent the ball past left-hander Brian Duensing and into center field.
Opponents had batted just .136 (6 for 44) against Duensing in his 11 previous appearances.