ARLINGTON, TEXAS - It could have been a memorably awful night for the Twins at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Friday. Instead, their 8-0 loss to Texas resembled many of the bad nights they've endured this season.
Rangers righthander Matt Harrison scythed through the Twins lineup with ease. With such ease that he entered the seventh inning with a no-hitter before Trevor Plouffe lined a two-out single to left.
Harrison, however, had to cede some of the spotlight to third baseman Adrian Beltre, who went, triple, double, homer and single for the second cycle of his career -- and the fifth accomplished against the Twins.
Beltre is in dreamland this week: He also had a three-homer game Wednesday against Baltimore.
Harrison came within seven outs of a no-no. There never has been a no-hitter and cycle in the same game. The Twins avoideed being on the negative end of such history. Instead, they left the park smarting from their 13th loss in the past 15 games.
"Things haven't been going well the last two weeks," Twins outfielder Darin Mastroianni said.
"It is frustrating, but everyone holds their heads up, and we're still out there fighting and believing we can win every game we are playing."
Harrison (15-7) was on from the beginning. The Twins were going down easy, except for the walk Mastroianni drew in the second, the throwing error by Harrison that allowed Ben Revere to reach in the third and the walk Jamey Carroll drew in the fifth.
"About 93-94 [miles-per-hour fastballs] in and out," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of what made Harrison tough to beat. "Didn't really look like he had to throw too many breaking balls or changeups. He was pounding his fastball and going right at us, getting ahead in the count and putting us on the defensive the whole night."
Texas scored one run in the first, then erupted for five in the second, giving Harrison a comfortable working margin.
Harrison entered the seventh and got two fly ball outs to left, but the second one forced David Murphy to run for a diving catch, thrilling an announced crowd of 45,823 that smelled something special.
So did Harrison.
"I knew it was getting close," he said.
"When Murphy made the catch, I thought it would happen. That's what I get for thinking."
Harrison said he lost his concentration after Murphy's defensive gem, and gave up a line-drive single to left to Plouffe. Carroll followed with a single, but Alexi Casilla tapped to the mound to end the inning.
Twins media guides were turned to page 255, where the no-hit information is. After the Twins stopped Harrison's bid, everyone turned their books to page 215, where the cycle information is located.
Beltre tripled in the first inning, doubled in the second inning and homered in the fifth inning -- all against Twins righthander Samuel Deduno, who was done after five innings.
When Beltre singled to right field off Kyle Waldrop in the seventh, he became the sixth Rangers player to hit for the cycle. And the stadium erupted.
Gardenhire chuckled when asked how Beltre can be stopped right now.
"Obviously we haven't gotten that formula," he said, "because we didn't slow him down."