See more of the story

Eight weeks into the season, it's uncomfortable to look at some of the batting averages in the Twins lineup. The leadoff hitter Friday, Edouard Julien, carried a .204 average into the game. First baseman Alex Kirilloff, batting sixth, was at .203. Catcher Christian Vázquez, hitting ninth, is at .160, among the worst in the league.

But Rocco Baldelli has stuck with them all, and on Friday, it paid off.

Vázquez doubled home a run in the second inning, one of two hits on the night. Julien followed with a ground ball deep enough to score Willi Castro, and he added a hit later. And in the fourth inning, Kirilloff smashed a changeup onto the right-field plaza, a solo home run that broke up a tie game and delivered a 3-2 victory over Texas at Target Field.

"Those guys have a history of hitting, performing, and we have a lot of belief in those guys. We're going to continue to stay with them," bench coach Jayce Tingler said after the Twins won their third game in a row following a seven-game losing streak. "They're working, they're grinding, they care. They're smart players. At the end of the day, we're betting on the people, and we believe a lot in those guys."

It was an impressive victory, coming against the defending World Series champions, even though the Rangers have now lost 11 of their past 13 games and scored 31 runs in doing so. It was remarkable, given that the Twins trailed 2-0 just six pitches into the game, yet did not allow another run.

And it was particularly heartening for the three slump-ridden Twins, who since April 29 had combined to hit just .104.

Julien, after all, hadn't driven in a run in two weeks, and Vázquez's most recent RBI was on May 6. He was 2-for-38 in May, slightly worse than Kirilloff's 4-for-41.

But they combined to go 4-for-9 against the Rangers, matching the champions' hit total as a team. For Kirilloff, it was his second straight game with a home run.

"We're all going to go through pockets, we're going to have hot stretches and cold stretches, and as long as you're continuing to work and continuing to compete," we'll be fine, Tingler said. "It was great to see Eddie come up. He drives in the run early, and later on, he hits a line drive over the shortstop's head. That's when Eddie is at his best, when he's lining the ball the other way."

Bailey Ober isn't at his best in the first inning, not this year. No Twins pitcher has given up more runs (10), hits (13) or a higher batting average (.357) to start a game. On Friday, four of Ober's first five pitches were out of the strike zone, putting Marcus Semien on base with a walk. And the next pitch was worse.

BOXSCORE: Twins 3, Texas 2

Corey Seager hit it, a fastball at the top of the strike zone and over the middle of the plate, onto the grass berm just beyond the center-field fence, 417 feet away, putting the Twins in an immediate hole.

But Ober didn't allow another run, stranding five runners in the first two innings. And four Twins relievers didn't allow another hit over the final four innings, with Jhoan Durán ending his streak of allowing a home run in three straight appearances by pitching around a two-out walk in a scoreless ninth. He earned his fifth save, helping make Ober the Twins' first five-game winner of the season.

"Extremely gutsy," especially on a windy night, Tingler said of Ober. "To be able to battle through [the first two innings], put up zeroes, get us through five — extremely gutsy."