Domingo Cedeno doesn't mind his reserve role. In fact, he prefers making an occasional start for the Texas Rangers.
Playing for the injured Kevin Elster and starting for only the 15th time, Cedeno homered and drove in all three Texas runs Monday night as the Rangers won for the seventh time in 10 games, beating the slumping Colorado Rockies 3-1.
"After playing seven or eight games in a row, I start thinking about what I am going to be doing the next day and don't hit," Cedeno said. "I hit better when I come off the bench."
"Domingo is a guy who you put out there part-time, every once in awhile and he will play like he did tonight," Rangers manager Johnny Oates said. "He's not a guy who is going to play 140 games. His game is to play in maybe 70."
Aaron Sele (9-3) went eight innings, limiting Colorado to five hits and a first-inning run to join Atlanta's Greg Maddux as the only nine-game winners in the majors. He struck out six and walked four for his first win in three starts.
The loss dropped Colorado, which has lost four-straight and all four games to AL West teams, to a season-low 12 games under .500 (26-38).
The Rangers are off to their second best start in franchise history after 62 games (38-24), one game behind the division-winning 1996 team.
John Wetteland pitched the ninth for his 17th save in 18 chances.
Cedeno, who went 3-for-4, tied the game with an RBI single in the fifth and gave Texas the lead with a solo homer in the seventh. He added an RBI single in the ninth, raising his average to .324.
Pedro Astacio (4-8) gave up two runs, four hits and struck out eight in seven innings. Astacio has allowed four runs in his last two starts, going at least seven innings in both of them, as his ERA dropped to 6.86.
"This one like so many lately is discouraging," Colorado manager Don Baylor said. "Astacio pitches a great game and you look on the board and we have only one run. Guys go out thinking if they give up two runs and they are going to lose."
The Rockies scored a run in the first inning when Curtis Goodwin singled and scored on an RBI single by Vinny Castilla.
Texas threatened in the third when Sele doubled with two outs and Tom Goodwin walked, but Astacio got Luis Alicea to line out to left.
Texas tied the game when Ivan Rodriguez doubled and scored on a bloop single by Cedeno.
Cedeno broke the tie with his second home run of the year, a solo shot with one out in the seventh. He singled in another run in the ninth off Curtis Leskanic.
"I pitched well to the rest of the lineup, but couldn't get Cedeno out," Astacio said. "The pitch I threw to Cedeno was meant to be a fastball in on the hands. It stayed inside and he hit it out."
Note: Colorado's Larry Walker didn't start for the second-straight game with soreness in his right elbow. ... Sele tied Kevin Brown as the fastest Rangers pitcher to win nine games. Brown also won his ninth on June 8, 1992. ... Sele doubled in the third inning for his first major-league hit. ... Texas remained the only major league team not to be shut out. ... Jeff Reed was in uniform after receiving 18 stitches from his Sunday collision with Dave Hollins. ... Rusty Greer snapped an 0-for-12 skid with an eighth-inning single.
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