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August 22, 2009

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Byrd soars as Rangers club Twins

MARLON Byrd homered in consecutive innings and made a spectacular diving catch in between those long balls in an 11-1 Texas victory over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday night that kept the Rangers within a game of the Boston Red Sox for the American League wildcard lead.

"It was a must-win, that was a definite," said Byrd, who has played all three outfield spots while starting 52 consecutive games.

The Rangers had blown four-run leads each of the previous two nights -- losing both games and the wildcard lead.

Texas jumped ahead 4-0 in the series finale, and still led 4-1 when the Twins loaded the bases with one out in the sixth. Manager Ron Washington replaced rookie left-handed starter Derek Holland (7-7) with hard-throwing rookie righty Neftali Feliz, who then needed only two pitches to induce an inning-ending double-play from Joe Crede.

"That turned the momentum," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "They got back in the dugout and scored some runs."

Elsewhere in the AL, it was: Tigers 7, Mariners 6; Indians 11, Angels 3; Red Sox 8, Blue Jays 1; and Orioles 8, Rays 7.

In the National League, it was: Reds 2, Giants 1 (in 10 innings); Phillies 12, Diamondbacks 3; Rockies 4, Nationals 1; Braves 3, Mets 2; Astros 4, Marlins 1; Cardinals 5, Padres 1; and Dodgers 7, Cubs 2.


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