ame in length of time for Texas this se
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Danny Duffy will try and get back on track after two straight rough outings when the Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins play the final game of a three-game series on Wednesday night at Target Field.In the midst of a career season, Duffy has struggled each of his past two turns on the mound, allowing a total of 11 runs in 10 2/3 innings of work against the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers. Prior to that, the left-hander had allowed just nine runs in his previous seven starts.Included in that run was 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball against the Twins at Kauffman Stadium on Aug. 21, when he scattered eight hits and walked two but earned his 11th win.The game has major postseason implications for the defending world champions, who have won the first two games of the series and are playing the third game of a 14-game stretch against teams under .500. If Kansas City is to get back into playoff positioning, this could be their final opportunity to go on a sustained run.In that vein, the Royals were able to avoid using the back end of their bullpen once again, thanks to a seven-run ninth inning on Tuesday in a 10-3 win.We were trying to keep (closer) Wade (Davis) out of the game, said Royals manager Ned Yost. Weve really pounded our back-end relievers the last two weeks. Every opportunity to give them an extra day is always huge.Minnesota got another home run from second baseman Brian Dozier on Tuesday, whose incredible August has carried right into September.It was the fifth straight game with at least one home run for Dozier, tying the franchise record shared by Harmon Killebrew and Marty Cordova. It was his 25th blast since the All-Star break and seventh this month.Its kind of like a video game, said Twins manager Paul Molitor. Just impressive to watch.The Twins will send right-hander Kyle Gibson to the bump looking to build on Ervin Santanas solid outing on Tuesday. Santana allowed three runs over six-plus innings of work, giving the Twins a rare quality start over the last month. Minnesota pitchers have allowed at least eight runs in 12 of its last 19 games and 15 times in the last 26.Gibson has been a big part of that, allowing at least five runs in four of his last seven starts since the beginning of August and giving up fewer than three just once during that stretch; that start lasted just five innings, however.The right-hander allowed six runs, five of them earned, on 10 hits and two walks in a loss to the Royals at Target Field on Aug. 12 but has historically fared well against Kansas City, posting a 5-4 record with a 3.10 ERA in nine career starts against them. 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Norv Turner will mark his 30th year of coaching in the NFL as the offensive co-ordinator, as widely reported for weeks, and George Edwards will be the defensive co-ordinator. ARLINGTON, Texas -- Now the Texas Rangers wait to find out their playoff opponent.After wrapping up a 95-win regular season on Sunday with a 6-4 loss in 10 innings to Tampa Bay, the AL West champion Rangers will open the AL Division Series at home on Thursday against the wild card winner -- Baltimore or Toronto.That means a possible ALDS rematch against the Blue Jays, who last October overcame a 2-0 series deficit and won the deciding Game 5 at home after the Rangers had a three-error inning and Jose Bautistas emphatic bat flip after he hit the go-ahead homer.When asked if it mattered if the Rangers (95-67) get another shot against the Blue Jays, shortstop Elvis Andrus responded, Not really, because our final prize is not beating one team. We know we have to beat three teams to win it all.In the last regular-season game between the Rangers and Blue Jays in Texas on May 15, second baseman Rougned Odor punched Bautista, igniting a bench-clearing brawl that led to several suspensions.Texas manager Jeff Banister said he isnt concerned about who the Rangers play, or the situation that would surround any opponent.I think that our focus supersedes anything that we might encounter in any location. We dont get to choose whom we play, we dont get to choose where we play, Banister said. We just have earned the opportunity to play someone, somewhere. ... Well stay focused, dedicated to what we need to do, and Ill leave it at that.In the regular-season finale Sunday, Alexei Ramirez had four hits, including a 10th-inning double before scoring for the Rays after Texas had tied the game in the ninth against closer Alex Colome.The Rays then opened the 10th with three consecutive hits off Tanner Scheppers (1-1). Richie Shaffer led off with a single before going to third on Ramirezs double and scoring on a wild pitch. Curt Casali then had an RBI double.While the Rangers fell one win shy of matching the franchise record for victories, they had already clinched home-field advantage through the postseason.The Rays (68-94) finished with their worst record since going 66-96 in 2007, the year before going to their only World Series.Good win on the last day, Rays manager Kevin Cash said. Long game, back and forth, but a nice win.ddddddddddddAndrus went 0 for 3 and had two strikeouts but finished the regular season with a .302 batting average. It is the first .300 season for the Rangers longest-tenured position player in his eighth year -- and the player who had two errors in that decisive seventh inning last October.Ive got to pound the table for a guy that at the end of the year last year, just where he was to where his determination, I think he told you all that this would be a time for him that would be an incredible moment and he was going to come back focused, rededicated and have a significant year, Banister said.Jonathan Lucroy homered for Texas, his 24th this season and 11th for the Rangers since being acquired in a trade Aug. 1 from Milwaukee.Jared Hoying, Robinson Chirinos and Hanser Alberto, hitting in the Nos. 2-4 spots after not being in the starting lineup, had consecutive singles to start the Texas ninth and tie the game 4-4 against Colome (2-4), who had only his third blown save in 40 chances this season.HITTING .300Adrian Beltre went 1 for 2 in the finale, to finish at exactly .300, along with 32 homers and 104 RBI. It is the sixth time in his career to hit .300, and the fourth time in six year with Texas. ... The Rangers had two .300 hitters in the regular season for the first time since 2012 with Beltre and David Murphy.FIRST RUN IN A WHILERamirez had an RBI single in the seventh off reliever Jake Diekman that made it 4-2 and ended the Rangers franchise-record stretch of 35 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings by their bullpen.SHORT HOPSThe game last exactly 4 hours, the second-longest game in length of time for Texas this season. ... Erasmo Ramirez, the seventh Rays pitcher and 14th in the game, worked the 10th for his second save.TRAINERS ROOMRays: CF Kevin Kiermaier missed the finale with a bruised left calf after getting hit by a pitch in Saturday nights game.Rangers: RF Shin-Soo Choo, playing for the third time after missing 39 games because of a broken left forearm, was 1 for 4 while playing seven innings. 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