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Must C Crushed: Hamilton launches one to upper deck

MINNEAPOLIS -- Josh Hamilton said he didn't see the baseball land in the upper deck, just as he didn't see Saturday's blast land in the plaza well beyond the right-field seats.

"You know I don't watch them," Hamilton said. "I know it feels good and sounds good and [manager Ron Washington] yells, 'Yes!' pretty loud. That's about it. But that one felt pretty good."

His teammates felt the same way. Hamilton's two-run home run in the top of the eighth inning completed the Rangers' three-run rally, and they went on to a 4-3 victory over the Twins at Target Field on Jackie Robinson Day on Sunday.

"That was awesome," outfielder David Murphy said. "We didn't get our offense going, but with this offense, we're never out of it. Huge shot by Josh. As long as we have outs, we're never out of it."

The victory was the Rangers' eighth in 10 games, including three in a row over the Twins. It's the first time the Rangers have swept a series in Minnesota since 1999. The Rangers had lost 20 of their last 26 in Minnesota, including nine of 10 at Target Field before sweeping the Twins this weekend.

"We played good baseball," Washington said. "We pitched, we played defense, we ran the bases, we delivered the big hit when we needed them. Everything fell into place."

Joe Nathan, who had been part of the winning side for the Twins before this season, enjoyed being on the other side Sunday afternoon. He set down the Twins in order in the ninth for his third save and first against his old teammates.

"It's nice to come in here and sweep these guys," Nathan said. "I know the Twins have done pretty well against this club at this park. Today was a good win, come-from-behind win, and to hold down a one-run lead, it was nice."

The Rangers trailed, 3-1, going into the eighth, but Ian Kinsler led off with a walk from reliever Glen Perkins, the first one issued by Twins pitchers on the wet afternoon. Elvis Andrus then hammered a line drive off the right-field wall for a triple to bring home one run.

Hamilton, who was 5-for-11 with a home run off Perkins prior to Sunday, followed by crushing a first-pitch fastball into the upper deck in right field to give the Rangers the lead. It was Hamilton's second home run in two day games here at Target Field. Hamilton had just one home run all of last year in day games.

He is now 16-for-41 (.390) with four home runs after 10 games.

"He's locked in," Washington said. "He's done everything for us. He's using all fields and not missing any mistakes. We certainly needed a big hit today, and that's what he has been doing for us."

The rally also allowed Robbie Ross to earn his second Major League victory. Ross, who was also the winning pitcher on Saturday, retired six of seven hitters he faced before Mike Adams and Nathan finished up. He is the first Rangers pitcher to win consecutive games since Wes Littleton on Aug. 28-29, 2007, against the White Sox.

"It was a pretty fun weekend," Ross said. "I enjoyed it. I tried not to put too much pressure on myself, just relax and try to get guys out."

Rangers starter Neftali Feliz went five-plus innings, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks while striking out three. Feliz threw 91 pitches and faced 21 hitters on the afternoon. He retired the first 10 before allowing seven of the next 11 batters he faced to reach base.

Twins rookie right-hander Liam Hendriks, making his first start of the season and fifth overall in the Major Leagues, held the Rangers to one run on seven hits in six innings. He struck out four and did not walk a batter.

Mike Napoli gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning with his first home run of the season. Napoli jumped on a first-pitch slider from Hendriks and hit it into the second deck in left field. It was only the Rangers' sixth home run in 13 games at Target Field since it opened in 2010. Hamilton's was No. 7.

But the Twins struck back in the bottom of the fifth. Josh Willingham singled and stole second while Chris Parmelee struck out for the first out. Feliz retired Danny Valencia on a popup before Clete Thomas, in his first game as the Twins right fielder since being claimed off waivers from the Tigers, crushed a 1-0 fastball into the upper deck in right-center for a two-run home run.

That gave the Twins a 2-1 lead, and they added another run in the sixth on a triple by Denard Span and a single by Jamey Carroll. Comments