You can’t beat these Twins outfielders for versatility. They’re showing new talents every day.

Take Aaron Hicks, for instance. His day included a horizontal dive of a catch, a bullet of a throw, and, for the first time in his career, a base hit that wasn’t a single.

Or Josh Willingham. He Paul Bunyan-ed a slider about 350 feet up and 350 feet out, a historic two-run homer that helped deliver the Twins’ 7-2 victory over the Rangers. Not satisfied with merely passing Jim Thome as Target Field’s all-time leading slugger, he stole a base, then and scored from second on an infield hit — not that either play was as kill-you-with-speed as it looks on paper. Truthfully, he looked a little like Thome on the bases, too.

But those contributions from the outfield, plus five solid innings from once-a-fortnight lefthander Pedro Hernandez, added up to an encouraging, streak-snapping, upbeat victory.

“A beautiful day,” Gardenhire said after the Twins returned to .500 by breaking their three-game skid, and he wasn’t just talking about the weather. “Our pitching was fantastic ... and we made some great defensive plays.”

They were helped a little bit by the Rangers, who ran into two more outs on the bases — giving them seven in this three game series. The second one gave the Twins, and Hernandez, a genuine lift. Nelson Cruz led off the second inning by driving a medium-speed fastball to the wall in right-center, but Hicks got there in a hurry, whirled and pegged the ball to second base on one hop, beating the runner to the bag.

“A pellet to second base, early in the game when they’re trying to be aggressive,” Gardenhire said approvingly. “That set a nice tone.”