5-23-07 -- Justin Morneau says he enjoys hitting at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, and the numbers back him up.
Morneau homered for the third time in two games and Boof Bonser won his third straight start, leading the Minnesota Twins over the Texas Rangers 5-3 on Wednesday.
The AL MVP in 2006 hit his 14th homer of the season, a solo drive in the third on an inside fastball off Robinson Tejeda (4-4) to give Minnesota a 3-1 lead. For the series, Morneau went 5-for-13 with three homers and seven RBIs. In the last two seasons at the Rangers' stadium, he is 14-for-36 (.389) with six homers and 15 RBIs.
"I like playing here," Morneau said. "The ball carries pretty well here. The wind seems always to be blowing the ball out to right-center. You just have to square it up and it's got a good chance to go out."
Sammy Sosa pinch hit for Texas with two on and two outs in the ninth and struck out, remaining two home runs shy of 600.
Bonser (3-1) allowed two runs and six hits in five innings, struck out six and walked two. Joe Nathan, the Twins' fifth pitcher, got three outs for his ninth save in 10 chances as Minnesota finished a 4-5 trip.
Texas' Victor Diaz broke his bat on a double-play grounder in the ninth. The shattered barrel of the bat struck Nathan on the back of his right leg, but the reliever remained on the mound, fanning Sosa three batters later.
When Nathan was struck with the piece of the bat, Twins medical personnel and manager Ron Gardenhire sprinted to the mound to check on the right-hander. Nathan limped for a few seconds, but when he ran a few strides, Gardenhire was convinced that his closer was OK.
"(Nathan) said, 'I'm fine. Let's go before it tightens up,"' Gardenhire said.
Tejeda gave up five runs and three hits in three-plus innings, throwing 86 pitches.
"He couldn't find his rhythm with any of his pitches," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He fought as hard as he could but just couldn't find his rhythm. He couldn't hit his spots and they waited him out."
Kenny Lofton and Mark Teixeira had three hits each, and Teixeira drove in two runs for the Rangers, held to four runs in the final two games of the three-game series after scoring 14 in the opener. The Rangers left 14 on base in the finale.
"We had some opportunities but we didn't cash in," Teixeira said. "They made some pitches. This is one of the best pitching staffs in the majors. It's tough not to press offensively. But we'll start getting 'em in."
Torii Hunter's RBI single in the first gave Minnesota the lead, then Texas tied it in the bottom half on Teixeira's run-scoring double.
Luis Castillo, who had three hits, singled home the go-ahead run in the second. Morneau's third-inning drive gave him homers in consecutive games for the third time this season.
Teixeira's RBI single in the third made it 3-2. With the bases loaded and one out, Ian Kinsler struck out and Ramon Vazquez grounded out.
"The fastball I threw to (strike out) Kinsler was one of my better pitches," Bonser said. "I got the better end of it this time. I battled today. I didn't really have much command, but we pulled through and got the W."
Jason Tyner hit into an RBI forceout in the fourth off C.J. Wilson and scored on a wild pitch that increased Minnesota's lead to 5-2.
Pinch-hitter Frank Catalanotto had an RBI single in the eighth off Juan Rincon.