Facing a potent Texas lineup that leads the league in home runs, Baker (8-7) limited the damage to a Nelson Cruz homer. It came with two outs in the fourth inning on the first pitch Baker threw -- Cruz's 23rd home run of the season.Other than that, Baker kept the Rangers off-balance. While throwing a majority of first-pitch strikes against what he knew was an aggressive-swinging club, Baker scattered just six hits and struck out eight while lowering his ERA to 5.15. "He pitched a good game," Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton said. "He located well. He doesn't have overpowering stuff or anything tricky. He just did what he's supposed to do." The Twins' offense did the same, giving Baker enough support to pick up the win and move his record over .500 Michael Cuddyer's 15th home run of the season helped extend the Twins' lead to 3-1, after Cruz had trimmed it to just one with his long ball. On a low, 1-2 curveball from Feldman, Cuddyer managed to get enough bat on it to deposit it in the left-field seats. The Twins added an insurance run in the eighth off reliever Jason Jennings. Alexi Casilla hit a two-out single and stole second before scoring on Justin Morneau's RBI single to right. Joe Nathan came on to close out the ninth for his 25th save of the season and to secure the Twins their fifth straight road series win. That's after the Twins began the year with a 7-19 record on the road. "We started off so bad, we knew that was an aberration," Gardenhire said. "You know you're not that bad of a road team. Now we're trying to make up ground and get back to .500 on the road." But this win was not without a little additional excitement as well. With one out in the inning Cruz hit a ball up the middle to Nathan, who tried to tag him out as Cruz zig-zagged up the first-base line. First-base umpire Gary Cederstrom ruled that Cruz avoided the tag and that Nathan's throw to Morneau at first did not beat Cruz, who slid into the bag. Believing that Cruz had run too far inside the baseline on the play, Gardenhire went out to argue the call -- to no avail. The Twins skipper was ejected for the fourth time this season. "He said [Cruz] didn't go out of the basepath," said Gardenhire of the explanation given to him by Cederstrom. "Well, which one are we talking about? Because he went all around the one down the middle. ... That was great baserunning, because if you get away with that, you get away with murder." Though a little fired up about the finish, Gardenhire acknowledged that the night was about Baker and his return to form. Pitching in front of a huge group of family and friends who had traveled in from his hometown of Shreveport, La. -- about three hours from Arlington -- Baker managed to deliver the type of performance the Twins have been hoping to see from him. "Tonight was a really good one by Bake, and we're going to need him a lot more," Gardenhire said. "So a good start for him in the second half and a good win for our baseball team."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.