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  Saturday, Apr. 22 8:05pm ET
It's not a shutout, but Loaiza will take it

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Esteban Loaiza gave the Texas Rangers just what they needed Saturday night: another strong start.

Esteban Loaiza

Loaiza allowed one earned run in 7 1/3 innings and worked out of trouble in the fifth and sixth to help the Rangers stop a five-game losing streak with an 8-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

"He's lacked focus sometimes, but in the second half of last season he got locked in and was our most consistent starting pitcher," Rangers manager Johnny Oates said. "I thought he pitched a lot better tonight than the numbers showed. I thought he easily could have pitched a shutout."

Loaiza (1-1) allowed 11 runners in the first six innings, but had enough support to win. He allowed three runs and nine hits, struck out five and walked three, lowering his ERA to 2.74.

"I've been in the majors for six years now," said Loaiza, who's pitched at least 7 1/3 innings in each of his three starts this season. "Now I know what to do, know the hitters better, and know what it takes."

Holding a 6-3 lead with two outs and the bases loaded in the fifth, Loaiza struck out Midre Cummings on a low slider. The Twins stranded runners on second and third in the sixth and left 12 on overall.

"I've faced him a couple of times," Loaiza said. "He likes to swing the bat, and I knew he thought I'd throw him a fastball. So things went right for me."

Chad Curtis had four RBI and Rafael Palmeiro hit a two-run homer in the first inning for the Rangers.

Texas stopped Minnesota's four-game winning streak by beating the Twins for the 14th time in their last 15 meetings.

Rookie Johan Santana (0-2) allowed six runs, five hits and six walks in 3 1/3 innings. Santana and reliever Mark Redman combined to walk eight.

"We had a rough day pitching," Twins manager Tom Kelly said. "When you walk eight people, it's not a good picture. You just can't win when you pitch like we did. You can't get behind in the count to these guys. They have some guys who will kill you."

Texas catcher Ivan Rodriguez threw the ball into left field on a double steal in the first, allowing two runs to score, but the Rangers took a 3-2 lead in the bottom half on Curtis' solo shot and Palmeiro's sixth homer of the year.

Ruben Mateo had an RBI single in the third, and Curtis' two-run single off Redman made it 6-2 in the fourth.

Torii Hunter tripled in the fifth and scored on Todd Walker's sacrifice fly, a ball that right fielder Gabe Kapler dropped for an error.

Curtis' RBI groundout in the bottom half made it 7-3, and Luis Alicea added a run-scoring double off Redman in the seventh.

Game notes
After the game, the Rangers placed infielder Frank Catalanotto on the 15-day disabled list with a pulled groin muscle. Texas recalled third baseman Mike Lamb from its Triple-A farm team in Oklahoma City. ... Rain delayed the first pitch by 41 minutes. ... Matt Lawton extended his hitting streak to nine games. ... Santana was making his third major league start.


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