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Ivan Paces Rangers Over Twins


It's hard to tell who's on a better run, Ivan Rodriguez or the Texas Rangers.

Rodriguez went 4-for-5 with three runs scored as the Rangers remained unbeaten in nine games against Minnesota this season with a 9-5 victory Tuesday night. Rodriguez is 19-for-28 over his last six games.

Texas is 16-3 since the All-Star break.

"That's what good teams do," said Rangers reliever Tim Crabtree, who got the final five outs to give his bullpen a breather. "You beat the teams you should beat and play .500 against the teams like the Yankees, Boston and Cleveland. If we continue to do that, we should be in good shape."

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Game Summary

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  • Rodriguez singled in the first, second, sixth and eighth innings. He didn't have a base-stealing opportunity and remains at 19 steals for the season as he tries to become the first catcher in major league history with at least 20 homers and 20 steals.

    "I'm feeling good and hitting the ball hard," Rodriguez said. "I do my best every day. It feels great to be able to do a job and help the team win."

    Rodriguez hit two homers in Monday night's 5-4 victory over the Twins, giving him 21 for the season. He also has a 12-game hitting streak.

    "I've never seen anyone in a better groove," Rangers manager Johnny Oates said. "The way he's swinging the bat right now is tough to top. He's seeing the ball so well and he's not trying to pull it. Almost all of his hits are to right and right-center."

    Juan Gonzalez went 2-for-4 with three RBIs to help the Rangers to their fifth victory in their last six games. Gonzalez had an RBI single in the first and drove in two more with a second-inning single.

    Rusty Greer and Rafael Palmeiro drove in two runs each for the Rangers.

    Mike Morgan (12-6) survived a three-run fourth, taking advantage of a 6-1 lead after two innings to win for the sixth time in his last seven decisions. The 39-year-old right-hander allowed five runs and 10 hits in five innings.

    "I wasn't real sharp," Morgan said. "I was lucky to go five. But our offense is on a streak and we have the best bullpen in baseball. We're winning as a team."

    Todd Walker had four hits for the Twins, who lost their third straight.

    The first six Rangers reached base against Benj Sampson (3-2). Roberto Kelly took first on Corey Koskie's throwing error, and Rodriguez followed with a single. Greer, Gonzalez, Palmeiro and Todd Zeile all had RBI singles as the Rangers took a 4-0 lead.

    "We sure got off to a tough start with the error," Twins manager Tom Kelly said. "We did hit some balls, though. We weren't pushovers. The boys kept playing. We just got off to a bad start."

    Minnesota scored a run in the second on Koskie's double, but Texas kept up the pressure against Sampson, loading the bases to knock out the rookie left-hander.

    Gonzalez's two-run single against reliever Dan Perkins extended Texas' lead to 6-1 and Ruben Mateo's fifth homer in the third made it 7-1.

    In the fourth, RBI singles by Christian Guzman, Walker and Ron Coomer reduced Texas' lead to 7-4. Guzman's sacrifice fly in the sixth pulled the Twins within 7-5.

    Texas extended its lead to 9-5 in the sixth on Greer's RBI single and Palmeiro's sacrifice fly.

    Notes:

  • The Rangers are 19-5 vs. the AL Central.
  • Texas (64-42) has its best record in team history after 106 games.
  • Sampson allowed six runs and six hits in his sixth major league start.
  • The Rangers haven't beaten the Twins nine times in a season series since going 9-4 in 1979.
  • Walker had his third career four-hit game, second against Texas.
  • The Twins haven't beaten the Rangers since Sept. 6, 1998.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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