Twins can’t protect lead for solid Hendriks

Lefty reliever allows three runs in eighth inning in loss to Texas

By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com

Left-hander Glen Perkins, Minnesota’s best reliever last season, was unable to protect a late lead for the Twins in a 4-3 loss to the Rangers on Sunday at Target Field.

Perkins entered the eighth inning with the Twins clinging to a two-run lead, but he quickly surrendered three runs without recording an out. He walked Ian Kinsler before giving up an RBI triple to Elvis Andrus and a two-run homer to Josh Hamilton.

It spoiled strong debuts from right-hander Liam Hendriks, who tossed six quality innings, and right fielder Clete Thomas, who hit a two-run homer in the fifth.

Hendriks, who missed his first scheduled start with food poisoning exactly a week ago, didn’t show any ill effects against a tough Rangers lineup. He allowed just one run — coming on a solo homer from Mike Napoli in the fifth — and seven hits over six innings. He also didn’t walk a batter.

Thomas, who was acquired as a waiver claim from the Tigers on Saturday, just missed a homer in his first at-bat against right-hander Neftali Feliz in the third inning. But in his next at-bat, Thomas crushed a 1-0 pitch for a two-run homer off Feliz that gave the Twins the lead in the fifth.

Thomas also helped out defensively in right field, making a strong relay throw to Alexi Casilla, who was able to throw out Adrian Beltre at the plate as he tried to score from first on a double by Michael Young in the sixth.

Minnesota added a run in the bottom half of the frame, as Denard Span tripled to lead off the inning and scored on a single from Jamey Carroll.

Feliz, making just his second start since being converted from a closer, allowed three runs on five hits and two walks over five-plus innings.

Former Twins closer Joe Nathan picked up the save against his former club, tossing a perfect ninth inning for the Rangers.

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