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AL: A-Rod reaches 50 HRs in rout

©Associated Press
September 6, 2002

BALTIMORE -- On a night in which he joined a prolific list of sluggers, Alex Rodriguez also showed his skill at bartering.

Rodriguez homered twice to become the first in the majors to reach 50 this season, and three of his teammates also connected as the Rangers cruised past the Orioles 11-2 Thursday night.

Rodriguez homered twice against Jason Johnson, hitting a two-run drive in the first inning and a shot in the third. It was his ninth multihomer game of the season and the 29th of his career.

Rodriguez, who hit 52 last year, is the fifth player in major-league history to record successive 50-homer seasons. He follows Babe Ruth, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Ken Griffey Jr.

The $252-million shortstop managed to get hold of the ball that gave him 50 for the season, working a slick deal with the fan who caught it.

"A ball and a bat. Not bad at all," Rodriguez said. "I'll take that every day."

Carl Everett, Todd Hollandsworth and Michael Young all homered in a five-run fifth inning to give Texas an 11-1 lead.

Texas has homered in a team-record 23 straight games, two short of the major-league record. Rodriguez has accounted for 13 of the Rangers' 47 homers during the streak.

Rodriguez drove in three runs to boost his major-league-leading total to 124. The last player to lead the majors in homers and RBIs in the same season was Cecil Fielder in 1991.

"I'm proud of 50 home runs in back-to-back years. It's a thrill," he said. "It's kind of bittersweet because you're doing it in a situation where the team isn't excelling and doing great things. Still, a lot of the preparation and work ethic pays off."

Kenny Rogers (13-7) gave up two runs and six hits in seven innings for the Rangers, who took two of three from the Orioles to win the season series 6-3.

Jeff Conine homered for the Orioles, who have lost 11 of 12.

YANKEES 9, TIGERS 3: Raul Mondesi homered, doubled and drove in three runs for host New York.

Orlando Hernandez (8-4), trying to boost his chances for a spot in the postseason rotation, gave up three runs in seven innings. He allowed seven hits, including five doubles. He struck out seven, walked none and won for only the third time in 10 starts.

The East-leading Yankees would most likely use a four-man rotation in the playoffs. New York can choose from Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, David Wells, Mike Mussina and Hernandez.

Drew Henson, the former Michigan quarterback considered the Yankees third baseman of the future, made his major-league debut as a pinch-runner. He replaced Bernie Williams, who hit a run-scoring single in the eighth.

Mondesi drove in a run with a double in a four-run third that made it 5-2 and chased Steve Sparks (8-15).

BLUE JAYS 5, RED SOX 4: Josh Phelps homered twice and Justin Miller won his third straight decision for visiting Toronto.

"He is a kid that has a lot of talent and he has a real good idea of what he wants to do at the plate," Blue Jays manager Carlos Tosca said of Phelps.

Boston lost for the seventh time in 11 games and fell 71/2 behind wild-card leader Anaheim. The Red Sox trail the Yankees by 91/2 in the East.

Phelps hit homers off John Burkett in the fourth and sixth innings for his second multihomer game in his rookie year. Phelps added a tiebreaking double in the seventh off Dustin Hermanson (1-1).

Vernon Wells singled with two outs in the inning and moved to second on Carlos Delgado's walk. Phelps' double broke the tie and gave him 47 RBIs on the season.

The Blue Jays added two runs in the eighth on run-scoring singles by Jayson Werth and Wells.

Miller (7-4) gave up two runs and five hits in seven innings to get the win. After allowing a two-run double to Manny Ramirez in the first, Miller retired 11 straight before walking Jason Varitek to lead off the fifth.

Kelvim Escobar pitched the ninth for his 29th save.

INDIANS 11, WHITE SOX 6: Karim Garcia hit a grand slam and Jim Thome added a two-run homer for visiting Cleveland.

Trailing 3-2, the Indians took the lead with a six-run fifth. John McDonald singled and White Sox starter Gary Glover (7-7) gave up back-to-back walks to Milton Bradley and Omar Vizquel to load the bases. Ellis Burks chased Glover out of the game with a two-run single to give the Indians a 4-3 lead.

The White Sox had a chance to get out of the inning with a double play but shortstop Jose Valentin bobbled Thome's grounder, allowing all runners to advance safely and load the bases for Garcia.

Mike Porzio relieved and allowed Garcia's third career grand slam, making the score 8-3.

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