MINNEAPOLIS – Gary Matthews Jr. hit his second grand slam this season to highlight an eight-run fourth inning, and Adam Eaton pitched the Texas Rangers past the Minnesota Twins 9-0 Tuesday night.

Michael Young also homered for Texas, which won for only the second time in nine games.

Making his second start since having surgery on the middle finger of his pitching hand, Eaton (1-1) threw six impressive innings for his first win with the Rangers.

After missing Sunday’s scheduled start because of food poisoning, Eaton allowed four hits, walked four and struck out four. C.J. Wilson and Scott Feldman finished the five-hitter, Texas’ sixth shutout this year.

The Twins were blanked for the ninth time.

The closest Minnesota came to scoring against Eaton was a two-out triple by Joe Mauer in the first, but Michael Cuddyer hit a soft liner to first to end the inning.

Scott Baker (3-7) did not help his chances to remain Minnesota’s fifth starter, allowing a career-high seven earned runs in 3 1-3 innings. In three starts since his recall from Triple-A Rochester, Baker has allowed 16 earned runs in 14 2-3 innings for a 9.82 ERA.

Baker gave up one hit in three innings before Texas broke loose in the fourth – with some help from Minnesota’s defense.

With one out, a single by Hank Blalock scored Carlos Lee, who doubled off the right-field baggie to start the inning. Ian Kinsler followed with a single before Matt Stairs hit a grounder to Nick Punto at third.

Punto double-pumped, then threw wide of Luis Castillo at second base, allowing Blalock to score on the error and moving Kinsler to third. Rod Barajas was hit by a pitch to load the bases before Brad Wilkerson hit an RBI single for a 3-0 Texas lead.

Matthews worked the count full before hitting a 426-foot shot to right that landed about 10 rows into the upper deck.

Young followed with an opposite-filed homer, also on a 3-2 pitch, to end Baker’s night.

Mark Teixeira added an RBI single in the ninth.

Pat Neshek struck out a career-high four in 2 2-3 hitless innings out of the Minnesota bullpen.

Notes: Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire missed his second straight game with flulike symptoms. A team doctor wasn’t sure if Gardenhire would back for Wednesday’s game. … Texas recalled Feldman from Triple-A Oklahoma and optioned pitcher John Rheinecker to the RedHawks. … The Twins announced the team’s flagship radio station will shift to KSTP-AM beginning in 2007. The team has been on WCCO-AM since it moved to Minnesota in 1961. … Barajas threw out Castillo and Punto trying to steal second base three pitches apart in the third inning. Barajas entered the game with a 30.6 percent success rate.

AP-ES-08-01-06 2256EDT



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