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Rodriguez Leads Way for Rangers

May 08, 2003|From Associated Press

Alex Rodriguez hit the tiebreaking home run, and then made the defensive plays to keep the Texas Rangers ahead to stay at Arlington, Texas.

Rodriguez led off the sixth with his 11th homer. The shortstop followed with three diving plays the next inning and Texas held on for a 5-4 win over Toronto on Wednesday night, stopping the Blue Jays' five-game winning streak.

"Alex's defense was one of the big differences of the game. He made two or three plays not many people make," Ranger Manager Buck Showalter said.

Texas went ahead, 5-3, in the sixth when Rodriguez had a leadoff homer, and rookie Mark Teixeira hit an RBI double after Ruben Sierra beat out a two-out infield single.

Then Rodriguez, who won his first Gold Glove last season, showed some more impressive glovework. He had already ended the fourth with a diving stop and turned a difficult double play in the sixth.

Orlando Hudson led off the seventh with a double before Chris Woodward hit a sharp grounder into the hole. Rodriguez made a diving stab to his right, holding Hudson at second as Woodward reached.

Shannon Stewart then hit another grounder toward the hole, and Rodriguez dived again, making the play and throwing to third for the forceout.

After a strikeout, Rodriguez went into the hole for yet another ball, but Vernon Wells' hit deflected off A-Rod's outstretched glove. A run scored on that play, but that was all the Blue Jays managed.

"I'm more proud of my defense than what I do offensively," said Rodriguez, who has only one error in 155 chances this season. "There were a lot of tricky plays. It was big to get that one forceout and save the run."

New York 7, Seattle 2 -- Mike Mussina struck out 12 to improve to 7-0 and Hideki Matsui and Nick Johnson each hit two-run homers at Seattle as the Yankees ended a three-game losing skid.

Mussina became the first Yankee pitcher since Bob Turley in 1958 to win his first seven starts in a season. Mussina beat the Mariners for the fourth straight time, including once last week in New York.

The right-hander gave up two runs and five hits in eight innings and did not walk a batter.

Minnesota 11, Tampa Bay 6 -- A.J. Pierzynski hit a grand slam and Bobby Kielty also homered at St. Petersburg, Fla., as the Twins beat the Devil Rays for the 10th straight time.

Juan Rincon (1-0) pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings in relief to earn his first major league win. The AL Central champions have won seven of eight to climb two games over .500.

Boston 9, Kansas City 6 -- Johnny Damon helped the Red Sox rally from a 6-1 deficit at Kansas City, Mo.

Damon hit a two-run home run in the seventh off Kyle Snyder and an RBI double in the eighth against Albie Lopez (4-1).

Boston has won five of six against the Royals this year.

Chicago 8, Oakland 4 -- Frank Thomas had four hits and Esteban Loaiza pitched six strong innings for the White Sox at Oakland.

Miguel Olivo homered and had three hits and Magglio Ordonez hit a peculiar two-run triple for Chicago.

Eric Byrnes robbed Ordonez of a home run in the third when he reached over the fence in left and had the ball in his glove before it got loose. It rolled along the top of the fence and eventually fell onto the warning track dirt.

Something even stranger happened a few minutes later when part of the left-field wall fell to the field just below the out-of-town scoreboard. Byrnes and center fielder Chris Singleton attempted to punch it back in place but were unsuccessful until receiving help from the grounds crew.

It caused about a 10-minute delay.

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