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Rangers shutout Twins

MINNEAPOLIS — The Texas Rangers got only one run against the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night at Target Field. Joe Saunders and the Texas bullpen made sure it was enough.

Luis Sardinas’ RBI single in the top of the seventh inning scored Leonys Martin from second base, breaking a scoreless tie in a 1-0 Rangers victory.

Saunders, making his second start of the season after missing nearly two months with a fractured left ankle, pitched five shutout innings to keep the Rangers in the game in the early going. He threw 97 pitches through the five frames, allowing only five hits and two walks while striking out six.

He was matched inning for inning by Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson, who went six innings and allowed six hits while striking out four.

It wasn’t until the top of the seventh, with right-handed reliever Jared Burton on the mound, that the Rangers were able to get on the board. Martin got on with a single and stole second base, coming around on Sardinas’ two-out hit that sliced just out of the reach of Twins left fielder Josh Willingham.

Shawn Tolleson pitched one shutout inning of relief and got the win to improve to 1-1. Burton took the loss, dropping to 1-2.

Rangers closer Joakim Soria atoned for his first blown save of the season Tuesday by setting down the Twins in order in the ninth inning for his ninth save.

The Twins and Rangers played scoreless through five innings. Minnesota had chances early though, leaving five runners in scoring position through the first three innings, including the bases loaded when second baseman Brian Dozier flied out to the warning track to end the second inning.

The Twins left seven men on base through the first five innings.

Texas had its best chance to get on the board in the top of the second, when back-to-back two-out hits put two runners in scoring position. But catcher Robinson Chirinos struck out to end the threat.

Notes: The Twins scratched CF Aaron Hicks two hours before Wednesday’s game with what the team classified as a stiff lower back. He was to be re-evaluated Wednesday night by team doctors. Danny Santana was inserted into the lineup in center field and batted ninth. ... The Rangers optioned LHP Aaron Poreda to Triple-A Round Rock before the game to make room on the roster for Wednesday night’s starter, LHP Joe Saunders. Poreda was 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA in 15 games with Texas this season. ... Texas has not announced a roster move involving RHP Yu Darvish, who was scratched from his scheduled start Tuesday with neck stiffness. An MRI came back “unremarkable” on Tuesday and the team was going to see how he felt Wednesday and Thursday before deciding whether he would be ready for his next scheduled start on Sunday at the Washington Nationals.