ARLINGTON, Texas — The Texas Rangers put on an offensive display – scoring early and often in baseball's biggest outburst this season.
They hit line drives over the fence. Lazy fly balls fell where outfielders weren't. They beat out infield hits and benefited from three errors by the Minnesota Twins.
When the carnage was over Monday night, the Rangers had routed the Minnesota Twins, 20-6, putting up the most runs in a game by any team this season.
In the process, the Rangers accomplished a feat done only two other times in 111 years by scoring at least three runs in each of the first five innings.
"The first five innings looked like a ZIP code, that will tell you how it went ... 33354," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I think that's Florida ... Fort Lauderdale."
It happened to Texas 20 years ago when the Oakland Athletics beat them 19-5. Philadelphia also did it against Pittsburgh way back in 1900, according to information provided by the Rangers from the Elias Sports Bureau.
"Everything went right for us," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "We put some runs on the board and kept coming. We showed what we're about."
Things were so out of control for the Twins that Michael Cuddyer became the first Minnesota position player to pitch since 1990.
Ian Kinsler homered and drove in four runs as the Rangers pounded out the most runs and hits in the majors this season.
"It was probably the worst I've had here as a manager as far as runs scored against us," said Gardenhire, the Twins' skipper since 2002.
With his team trailing 20-5, Cuddyer moved from right field to the mound to pitch the eighth. He gave up a double to Mike Napoli, a bloop single to Mitch Moreland, and walked Kinsler with one out to load the bases.
But Cuddyer retired Elvis Andrus on a fly ball, and David Murphy on a pop-up for a scoreless inning.
"It was fun out there," Cuddyer said. "I got to work through some trouble. I threw sinkers, a cutter, one curve and three changeups. ... Fortunately I was able to keep the ball in the ballpark."
The last Twins position player to pitch was outfielder John Moses against California on July 31, 1990.
Gardenhire said Cuddyer, who pitched in high school, has been lobbying for a chance to take the mound in a blowout game. He's now played every position in the majors except catcher and shortstop.
"I had to put somebody out there and he would have killed me if I would have put anybody else out there," said Gardenhire, who had used five pitchers before Cuddyer and wanted to save a few relievers for Tuesday night's game against Texas."
Kinsler had four of the Rangers' league-best 27 hits as Texas became the first team to score 20 runs since Milwaukee beat Pittsburgh 20-0 on April 22 last season. The Rangers had 18 runs by the fifth inning as they scored three runs in each of the first three innings. Texas added five in the fourth and four in the fifth.
Napoli and Nelson Cruz also had four hits as every Rangers starter had at least two except for third baseman Chris Davis, who was hitless in six at-bats. Michael Young also went deep and had three RBIs for Texas.
Rangers starter Derek Holland (9-4) set a career high for victories, allowing an unearned run and five hits in six innings with four strikeouts to surpass his eight-win rookie season in 2009.
Josh Hamilton and Endy Chavez also drove in three runs each to help the Rangers surpass Cleveland's output in a 19-1 blowout at Kansas City on May 16. Texas also passed the 25 hits that the Los Angeles Dodgers had against Minnesota on June 27.
Jason Kubel hit a 449-foot homer off Arthur Rhodes in the eighth for the Twins, who have lost six of nine.
Minnesota starter Nick Blackburn (7-7) was knocked around for nine runs – six earned – and 11 hits in 2 2-3 innings.
Blackburn simply couldn't keep the ball down. And even when the Rangers didn't hit the ball well, it often found a hole.
"I don't think I threw more than two or three pitches below the knees all night," Blackburn said. "For a sinkerball pitcher, that's no way to be successful. Obviously, you're not happy losing 3-2 or 20-6. It's very frustrating."