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Mike Napoli: 'It's just baseball'

ARLINGTON, Texas -- To Mike Napoli, it didn’t seem all that unusual.

On Sunday, in a 3-0 loss to Toronto, his Texas Rangers failed to get a man as far as third base.

The next day, the same team in the same stadium hangs a 20-spot.

“It’s just baseball,’’ Napoli said following the Rangers’ 20-6 thrashing of the Twins on Monday night at Rangers Ballpark. “What happens yesterday doesn’t have a thing to do with today.’’

Napoli matched a career high with four hits, the fifth time he’s done it, and is batting .444 with 10 RBIs and 12 runs since coming off the disabled list July 3.

“Everyone in this clubhouse knew what we had to do,’’ Napoli said. “Nobody has to say anything. It’s just part of the game.’’

Rangers manager Ron Washington took notice. The ability to snap back so quickly is a trait of seasoned professionals.

“Those guys didn’t let one game affect them,’’ he said. “We put some runs on the board early and kept coming after more.

“We got on [Nick] Blackburn early and didn’t give him a chance to get settled in.’’

The shocker was the way the Rangers’ lead mounted in the early innings. Texas had 18 of its 20 runs by the end of the fifth inning.

Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire made four pitching changes, finally turning to position player Michael Cuddyer in the eighth inning. Cuddyer pitched a scoreless inning.

“It looked like he’s been on the mound before,’’ Washington said of Cuddyer. “He fought back and got the three outs he needed.’’

But by that time, the Rangers (59-44) already had put the game in the win column, their 11th straight victory in a series opener.

Rangers pitcher Derek Holland had struggled to hold a lead in his previous start, against the Angels, but he was all business this time.

“Focus wasn’t a problem,’’ Holland said. “My job was to throw strikes and keep momentum on our side. You can’t ask for anything better than the runs they gave me tonight. The only problem was we batted so long I had trouble getting loose when I went back out there.’’

Washington was able to rest Josh Hamilton and Michael Young for the last four innings.

“That’s what happens in a game every once in a while,’’ said Hamilton, who had a pair of doubles. “I prefer to be on this end of it.’’