By Jeff Wilson
ARLINGTON — For all the hits the Texas Rangers collected Monday night and for all the runs they scored, they still fell short of the club mark in each category.
But what they did against Minnesota, especially over the first five innings, rates as remarkable, even for a team long known for its offensive prowess.
The Rangers pounded Minnesota 20-6, establishing season-highs in the major leagues for runs and hits. Derek Holland entered the sixth inning with an 18-1 lead after the Rangers became only the third team since 1900 to score at least three runs in each of the first five innings.
The run total is 10 off the club and modern-day major-league record the Rangers established Aug. 22, 2007, in a 30-3 victory at Baltimore. The 27 hits were two shy of the club mark, also established in the rout of the Orioles.
Even more remarkable is that the onslaught came only one night after the Rangers had been shut out on four hits by Brett Cecil in a 3-0 loss to Toronto.
“You’re not going to do that all the time, but when you do do it, it’s fun,” said left fielder Josh Hamilton, who went 2 for 4 with three RBIs before leaving after the fifth inning. “Tonight we had a little chip on our shoulder. We came out and had fun from the very beginning, and it continued all the way through the end.”
The Rangers scored three runs in each of the first three innings, added five in the fourth and scored four more in the fifth for an 18-1 lead. Michael Young and Ian Kinsler hit homers, Hamilton collected two doubles, and No. 9 hitter Endy Chavez had three RBIs in the fourth and fifth.
Seven Rangers had at least three hits, setting a club mark. Their eight doubles were second-most in club history and the most at Rangers Ballpark. Nelson Cruz and Mike Napoli matched their career-highs with four-hit games.
“Everything went right for us tonight,” manager Ron Washington said. “We put some runs on the board, and we kept coming.”
The scoring barrage made a winner of Holland, who allowed just an unearned run in six innings. The only time he pitched without a lead was in the first, when he blew through the first three Twins hitters on nine pitches.
Holland (9-4) had to cope with staying loose between the long innings by the offense, but he learned just how sweet it is to pitch with a 17-run lead.
“It’s amazing,” said Holland, who hasn’t allowed an earned run in his past three victories spanning 24 innings. “Every time I got out there, I felt like I was trying to get loose again. The main thing is just throwing strikes in a situation like that and keeping momentum on our side.”
Hamilton got the offense started with an RBI double in the first, and Young followed with a two-run homer. Hamilton and Young delivered again in the second with an RBI double and an RBI single for a 6-0 lead after Chavez had scored an unearned run.
Kinsler added a three-run homer with two outs in the third; Mitch Moreland had an RBI double in the fourth; and Chavez collected a two-run single and Elvis Andrus had a two-run double in the fifth.
After failing to score in the sixth, Omar Quintanilla and Nelson Cruz drove in runs in the seventh with a triple and a double with two outs — just about the time Cleveland was rallying past the Angels to give the Rangers a four-game lead in the American League West.
Along the way, the Twins committed three errors, including a gaffe to start the third that extended the inning long enough for Kinsler’s 16th homer of the season.
Multiple misplayed balls also resulted in rally-extending hits.
Things got so bad for the Twins that they pitched Michael Cuddyer, who started the game at first base and had moved to right field before becoming the first Minnesota position player to pitch since 1990.
Cuddyer, the lone Twins All-Star this year, didn’t allow a run in the eighth.
“The first five innings looked like a ZIP code,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Probably the worst I’ve had as a manager as far as runs scored against us. Can’t think of any more than that. A bad night for us, and we have to find a way to regroup tomorrow.”