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Hamilton homers, drives in four vs. Twins

ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington said it not once but twice in his postgame news conference.

"We have no issues with [Scott] Feldman in the rotation," Washington said.

Washington made that point after Feldman suffered his fourth straight defeat in a 6-5 loss to the Twins on Sunday at Rangers Ballpark. Feldman, after a six-game winning streak enabled him to knock Roy Oswalt out of the rotation, is 0-4 with a 6.45 ERA in his last four starts.

The loss also snapped the Rangers' four-game winning streak. They still took three out of four from the Twins and are now 5 1/2 games ahead of the Athletics in the American League West.

"It's nice to take three out of four, but we might have had a sweep in hand if I'd have pitched better," Feldman said.

Instead, Feldman gave up six runs (five earned) in 5 2/3 innings on 10 hits and one walk. He gave up three infield singles -- including bunt hits from Ben Revere and Denard Span -- and all three ended up scoring, as did the one walk.

"It was a frustrating game in that they had guys on base the whole day, whether it was by well-executed bunts or hits in the right spot," Feldman said. "They also got some hits with runners in scoring position. I thought I made good pitches, for the most part, but ... ultimately we didn't win the game. That's the frustrating part."

Feldman said he is not pitching much differently now than he did during his winning streak, and Washington concurred with that opinion.

"He made some pitches and they found some holes," Washington said. "Breaks ... he's not catching any breaks. Mainly they're finding holes. His tempo is different, but mainly he's not catching any breaks."

"Today I gave up [six] runs, but I still think I'm throwing the ball the same way," Feldman said. "Everybody goes through ups and downs, hopefully I'm on my way up."

One thing that's different is his run support is far less during the losing streak. The Rangers averaged 7.13 runs per nine innings when Feldman was on the mound during his winning streak and 2.82 during his losing streak.

The Rangers scored 39 runs during their four-game winning streak, but the offense almost completely disappeared on Sunday after scoring two runs in the first inning off Twins starter Cole De Vries. He started the afternoon by giving up infield hits to Ian Kinsler and Mitch Moreland and, after a passed ball, Josh Hamilton drove in two with a single. But then De Vries retired 15 of the next 16 hitters he faced and the only one to reach base came on a strikeout/passed ball.

In 12 innings over two starts against the Rangers this season, the Twins' rookie right-hander has allowed two runs on six hits and a walk with 10 strikeouts.

"I like the way he keeps challenging hitters, attacking and making pitches," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Against that lineup over there you have to be very careful, but if you get behind on them, they'll kill you. I thought he worked the count well, he got ahead in some counts, they fouled off a lot of pitches. He had them pulling balls over our dugout, and that means [he was] changing speeds and locating the ball. So he did a really nice job against that lineup."

De Vries left with a 6-2 lead and the Rangers broke through in the sixth against reliever Jeff Gray. Hamilton hit a two-run home run to lead off the inning and Nelson Cruz hit a solo shot with one out. But Gardenhire yanked Gray and used the combination of Casey Fien, Jared Burton and Glen Perkins to shut down the Rangers the rest of the way. Those three combined to retire 10 of 11 batters, allowing only a walk.

"The frustrating thing is we didn't play as sharp as we could have today," outfielder David Murphy said. "If we did, it very well could have been a different outcome."

An unearned run in the third inning was an example of the Rangers' lack of sharpness. Revere led off with a grounder to the right side that he beat out for a hit and then went to second as Moreland threw wild to Feldman covering the bag. Joe Mauer then hit a grounder back to the mound that Feldman grabbed and then had Revere caught in a rundown. But third baseman Adrian Beltre ended up dropping the ball as he went to tag Revere.

That left runners at the corners as Feldman struck out Josh Willingham. Justin Morneau followed with a high fly to short left that Hamilton caught but then fumbled as he transferred the ball to his throwing hand. The catch was allowed, but the fumble enabled Revere to score when he otherwise would have remained at third.

"That was a run that shouldn't have been on the board," Washington said. "The rest of the runs, they earned."

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