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Gonzalez Hits 101st RBI

Juan Gonzalez became the second player in baseball history with at least 100 RBIs at the All-Star break. And the Texas Rangers' right fielder accomplished his four-RBI night against Randy Johnson, still one of the toughest left-handers in the game.

Gonzalez hit a pair of two-run homers to boost his major league-leading RBI total to 101 as the Rangers beat the Seattle Mariners 8-4 Sunday night.

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  • "To have 100 RBIs at this point is amazing," Gonzalez said. "For this to come against a pitcher like Randy Johnson makes it even more special."

    Gonzalez has the second-most RBI before the All-Star break in major-league history. Hank Greenberg of the Detroit Tigers had 103 in 1935 en route to 170.

    He is also ahead of Hack Wilson's record pace of 1930 when Wilson drove in 190 runs for the Chicago Cubs. Wilson had 89 RBIs after 87 games.

    "The record is not easy, but it's not impossible, either," Gonzalez said. "I need to continue to stay healthy and work hard."

    Gonzalez homered in the first and seventh innings off Johnson (7-8), the 31st multi-homer game of his career. It was the 10th time this season he has driven in four or more runs in a game.

    Following the second homer, Gonzalez received a standing ovation from the crowd of 38,053 at The Ballpark in Arlington.

    "It was the best moment in my career," said Gonzalez. "That standing ovation was most special. This is just an exciting and happy time for me right now."

    Rangers manager Johnny Oates said e is beginning to detect a growing bond between Gonzalez and the fans.

    "Every once in a while you have a special night that comes around," Oates said. "There aren't too many guys who've driven in 100 runs by the All-Star break so it was a special night for Juan. He's developing a very special relationship with the fans."

    Xavier Hernandez (3-1) pitched 3 2/3 innings of two-hit scoreless relief for the victory. Hernandez's relief was as important to the Rangers as Gonzalez's offense.

    "They've got a very potent," Hernandez said of the Mariners. "You can't take anything for granted against them. I was pleased with the outcome tonight."

    Bill Haselman's tie-breaking RBI single, scoring Mike Simms, in the sixth off Johnson gave the Rangers the lead for good, 5-4.

    Simms also had a two-run homer in the fourth off Johnson, who has lost both his starts against Texas this season. Johnson had a career record of 13-3 against Texas prior to 1998.

    Johnson allowed eight runs and nine hits in his third complete game of the season. He walked two and struck out 12, giving him 10 or more strikeouts for the 92nd time in his career and 10th time this season.

    Texas extended its lead to 6-4 in the seventh on Will Clark's RBI double, and Gonzalez hit his 26th homer with Mark McLemore on second to make it 8-4.

    "It's hard to believe Juan has 101 RBIs," Mariners manager Lou Piniella said. "It used to be a barometer for a very successful full season."

    Rangers starter Rick Helling took a 4-1 lead into the fifth, but failed to join teammate Aaron Sele and the New York Yankees' David Cone as the AL's only other 12-game winners.

    The Mariners cut the deficit to 4-3 on RBI singles by Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey Jr. Helling was lifted with the bases loaded and one out, and Hernandez walked Jay Buhner to force in a run and tie the game at 4.

    The Rangers got off to a 2-0 first-inning lead on Roberto Kelly's single and Gonzalez's 25th homer, a 433-foot line drive to left-center.

    Seattle's David Segui made it 2-1 in the second with his 15th homer.

    But in the fourth, Ivan Rodriguez doubled and Simms hit his seventh homer, barely clearing the wall in the right-field corner to give Texas a 4-1 lead.


  • Texas is 5-1 against Seattle this season and the Rangers have taken eight of their last 10 against the Mariners. Before the current streak, Seattle was 36-8 against Texas beginning with the 1994 season.
  • Mariners manager Lou Piniella gave third baseman Russ Davis the day off after Davis committed five errors in his previous two games.
  • Rangers officials said the game that ended at 1:44 a.m. (CDT) Sunday was probably the latest in team history for a home game.
  • Gonzalez hadn't homered at home since June 5.

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