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MIN@TEX: Rangers walk off on Martin's single in ninth

ARLINGTON -- Leonys Martin's move to the leadoff spot sparked the Rangers' offense in August. It was only fitting that Martin would end the month with his second career walk-off hit.

The outfielder came through for the Rangers with a two-out, bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth to defeat the Twins, 2-1, Saturday night at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

"I was ready for my approach," Martin said. "I was concentrated in my at-bat. That's no easy situation, but when you're concentrated, you hit the pitch you want."

Martin snapped an 0-for-10 stretch with a single off Brian Duensing that poked through the infield to score Alex Rios from third. It's the sixth walk-off victory for the Rangers this season. Twins reliever Caleb Thielbar recorded the loss, as he allowed a one-out double to Rios in the ninth, dropping to 2-2.

"He wasn't getting too out of control, wasn't trying to do more than the situation asked him to do," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "All we needed was a base hit. He stayed short and hit the ball up the middle."

It was the 20th win for the Rangers this month, the most in franchise history in August. It marked just the fourth month with 20 wins in Rangers history.

Matt Garza had his third quality start with Texas, his first since July 29 against the Angels. Garza allowed a solo home run to Brian Dozier on the third pitch of the game, but it was the only run he allowed in his outing.

Garza walked the next batter, Chris Herrmann, but recorded two outs on a strikeout of Josh Willingham as A.J. Pierzynski threw out Herrmann attempting to steal second. Pierzynski has now thrown out 13 of his last 29 runners on stolen-base attempts.

"It was grind early, but then I caught a nice tempo about the third or fourth inning and decided to run with it for a while. It worked out great," Garza said.

The right-hander had to battle to complete his start allowing just a run. He put himself in a two-on, one-out situation in the seventh, walking Ryan Doumit and Chris Colabello on 17 pitches. With fatigue kicking in, Garza noticed movement in the Rangers bullpen, which gave him enough motivation to push through the inning.

"You never want to leave your ballgame," Garza said. "You train to finish it and train to go nine. You see guys up and it makes you dig a little deeper."

Garza got Clete Thomas to fly out to center and struck out Darin Mastroianni on a check swing on the seventh pitch, one of nine strikeouts for Garza. He recieved a no-decision for his impressive outing, conceding just three hits on 119 pitches.

"I had to make pitches," Garza said. "I didn't want to come out. I saw guys getting up in the 'pen, and I just kept telling myself, 'This is your ballgame.' You don't want to leave this thing with runners on. I made some pitches and caught a break.

"I just don't like to get beat. It's just what you don't want to do. You don't want to give in right there. You got two guys fighting, and you want to be the better guy there."

The Rangers managed just one run off Mike Pelfrey, who recorded his fourth no-decision in six August starts. He lasted seven innings, allowing just six hits and collecting seven strikeouts.

"Normally if you hold the Rangers like that, you feel pretty good about yourself, but unfortunately we lost tonight," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Texas tied the game at 1 in the first on Adrian Beltre's sacrifice fly for his 21st RBI in August. The Rangers managed just one runner in scoring position after the first. Beltre reached second after a bloop single from Pierzynski with two outs, but Rios couldn't beat out a chopper and recorded the final out in the sixth.

"It didn't start off the greatest, but after the second inning I felt like I did a better job of throwing strikes and getting ahead," Pelfrey said. "Everything kind of fell into place. The fastball command was good and I was able to mix in a few curveballs and sliders. So I thought I had all four pitches working."

The Rangers have won four of their last five games. They hold a two-game cushion over the A's in the American League West as the calendar flips into September, the final month of the regular season.

"It's always exciting, but we've got to take it one game at a time, one day at a time," Garza said. "We can't overlook anybody and not take anything for granted. We just got to keep grinding and keep fighting every day and see what happens at the end of September."

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