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AL: A-Rod's E helps Rangers rally

By Associated Press
Published May 23, 2004

ARLINGTON, Texas - Now that he's in the other dugout, Alex Rodriguez is bringing out the best in the Rangers.

Fired up by a sellout crowd eager to boo A-Rod and aided by his eighth-inning error, Texas scored three in their last two at-bats to beat the New York Yankees 4-3 Saturday.

Rod Barajas won it with a one-out homer in the ninth inning, prompting an October-like celebration. Teammates and coaches streamed out of the dugout as the ball sailed into the seats, and nearly all of them crowded around the plate to greet him.

"It's electric out there right now, a playoff atmosphere," Barajas said. "With the packed houses, it definitely makes it nicer."

The Rangers sold out their home opener but didn't fill the stadium again until Friday night for Rodriguez's return. With another sellout today, the series will draw nearly 150,000, easily a club record.

The opener Friday was thrilling as Texas rallied from three down to five up, then held on for a 9-7 win. Saturday, the Rangers were down two going into the bottom of the eighth and won, spoiling a strong start by New York's Jose Contreras in his return from the minors.

"This one hurts," Rodriguez said.

A-Rod went 1-for-4 with a single and two crowd-pleasing strikeouts. With New York leading 3-1 in the eighth, his defense left fans cheering again.

Rodriguez charged a chopper from Alfonso Soriano, the player for whom he was traded, but couldn't squeeze it. The third baseman picked up the ball and made a strong throw to first, possibly beating Soriano, but he was called safe.

"I had enough time," Rodriguez said. "When he called him safe, I was surprised."

Tom Gordon had a chance to erase Soriano after stopping a comebacker by Brad Fullmer. Yet instead of starting a double play, he allowed a run to score by throwing the ball under the legs of shortstop Derek Jeter for an error.

"I rushed it instead of waiting for Jeter," Gordon said. "I make that play in my sleep."

TWINS 9, WHITE SOX 1: Tampa's Brad Radke allowed one run in seven innings and Matthew LeCroy hit a two-run homer for host Minnesota.

Rookie Justin Morneau, considered one of baseball's best prospects, went 3-for-3 with his first homer and first two RBIs of the season for the Twins, who had lost the previous three against Chicago by a combined 29-5. Michael Cuddyer went 3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI.

Jose Valentin had two hits for the White Sox, who had their winning streak snapped at four and fell one game behind the first-place Twins in the Central.

RED SOX 5, BLUE JAYS 2: Manny Ramirez hit a mammoth homer for the second straight night, helping host Boston rally.

Making his major-league debut, Anastacio Martinez got three outs to win in relief of Pedro Martinez and give the Red Sox their sixth victory in eight. Keith Foulke pitched the ninth for his ninth save.

A'S 5, ROYALS 4 (11): Jermaine Dye made a clutch catch in the 11th, then scored on Bobby Crosby's infield single with two outs in the bottom half for host Oakland. Eric Chavez tied it with a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth off new closer Jeremy Affeldt.

ANGELS 3, ORIOLES 2: Vladimir Guerrero hit a go-ahead two-run homer and Kelvim Escobar pitched seven strong innings for host Anaheim, shrugging off second-inning home runs by Melvin Mora and Javy Lopez.

TIGERS 8, MARINERS 4: Jason Johnson pitched into the ninth and Craig Monroe hit a three-run double in a five-run eighth for visiting Detroit. Johnson improved to 3-5.

[Last modified May 23, 2004, 01:16:10]

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