Painful night for Twins

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Rangers rally in the ninth against Nathan

Knight-Ridder Newspapers

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Just about the time Carlos Silva started to inspire visions of a five-week waltz to another Twins division title Tuesday night -- ouch!

A knot in his upper back, near his pitching shoulder, forced Silva from the game with one out in the seventh inning, gave manager Ron Gardenhire fits because nobody told him about the pain, and gave an immediate reminder of how thin the Twins' starting rotation is.

Silva awoke Monday with the crick in his neck, got a massage, said he felt fine before Tuesday's start, then had the pain worsen in the fifth and sixth innings, the pain creeping into his head.


Silva said he doesn't think he will have to miss a start. Gardenhire, who fumed long after the game because he wasn't informed until he walked to the mound after Silva loaded the bases in the seventh, said he isn't sure.

And the game -- ouch! -- didn't get any better for the Twins after Silva left.

The Texas Rangers beat the Twins 5-4 on Mark Teixeira's run-scoring scorcher past first baseman Matt LeCroy with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning at Ameriquest Field -- after the Twins had dramatically taken a 4-3 lead in the top half on Justin Morneau's pinch-hit double.

Twins closer Joe Nathan suffered his second straight blown save after recording a team-record 27 converted chances. He gave up a leadoff single and a two-out, tying double to Michael Young before Teixeira's rip at a 2-2 curve.

"I don't know what to tell you about that game,'' Gardenhire said. "It was a very disappointing baseball game.''

The Twins still have an eight-game lead in the American League Central, thanks to second-place Cleveland's 5-4 loss to the New York Yankees on Tuesday.

But with 37 games left, including 13 against Cleveland (seven) and Chicago (six), now tied for second place, that lead wouldn't look quite as imposing if Silva can't keep making his starts.

Six days remain before the Aug. 31 deadline for setting playoff rosters, but whether a starter who has cleared waivers can be had -- and at a talent price the Twins can afford -- is doubtful.

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