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Twins continue road struggles, fall to Rangers 5-0

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ARLINGTON, Texas - Phil Hughes hoped to turn around the fortunes of a Minnesota Twins team that came 0-4 on its current road trip and winless in the previous nine games away from Target Field.

An early run was all the Rangers needed with Yu Darvish on the mound to hand Minnesota another road loss. Darvish held the Twins scoreless through eight innings on only four singles, two by Chris Parmelee, as Texas went on to win 5-0.

"Surrendering a run there early sealed the fate for us today, unfortunately," Hughes said. "It's the way it goes on a day like this, when you know you are going to have to be pretty good."

Darvish improved his record to 8-4, breaking a personal two-game losing streak and lowered his earned run average to 2.42. With 10 strikeouts, he hit double digits for the fifth time in his last eight starts and 25th time in his two and a half seasons with Texas.

Hughes (8-4) lost for only the second time in eight road starts this season, allowing all five runs on 11 hits in 7 2-3 innings.

"He pitched his tail off," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of his starter. "That was a great performance by him."

The Rangers have won the first two of the three-game weekend series with the Twins following a season-long eight-game losing streak. Minnesota came to town having been swept at Anaheim Stadium by the Los Angeles Angels in a three-game series.

"It's not been going our way as of late, but our hitting will come around," Parmelee said. "Our pitching has been pretty good. The hitting's kind of streaky, but we'll get it back."

Texas' Adrian Beltre scored on a double by Chris Gimenez on a fly to straight-away centre that sailed just beyond the reach of Sam Fuld for the Rangers' second-inning run. They added a second run in the third inning when Rougned Odor singled, stole second, advanced on an out and scored on a dribbler back to the mound by Elvis Andrus.

Texas added three insurance runs in the eighth to chase Hughes, who went into the game with a 1.52 ERA in five previous career appearances at Globe Life Park.

One of Minnesota's hits was a first-inning single by Joe Mauer that extended his hitting streak to a season-high nine games.

Mauer was one of only three Minnesota batters to get a hit off Darvish, whose cut fastball was particularly effective against lefthanded hitters.

"He was tough," Mauer said. "It's what we expect. Every time he gets the ball, he's one of the better pitchers in the game. And he showed that today.

"I'd say (Darvish's cutter) is probably his best pitch. He can definitely make the ball move in a lot of different directions."

The Twins put runners at second and third in the second inning on singles by Oswaldo Arcia and Parmelee. No. 9 batter Pedro Florimon, hitless in his previous 18 at-bats, flied out to centre with two away to end what proved to be Minnesota's only threat of the game.

"Most guys, those big shooters, have a second level when they get in trouble," Gardenhire said of Darvish. "They rear back and let it fly. He knows how to do that.

"I don't think he likes to have runs scored against him."

Notes: Twins 2B Brian Dozier went into Saturday's game leading the A.L. in runs with 60. ... Rangers OF Alex Rios has a .481 career batting average against Hughes but was given his first day off this season with an 0-for-15 streak at the plate.

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