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Palmeiro, Rangers Stun Tribe

Playing in the hot weather at home, the Texas Rangers looked sluggish. Now that they're in a cooler climate, they look slugger-ish.

Rafael Palmeiro hit a three-run homer and Royce Clayton had a two-run shot in a five-run seventh inning Wednesday night that powered the Rangers to a 6-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians.

The Rangers have scored 44 runs and gotten 60 hits during a four-game winning streak that has helped them to a 6 1/2-game lead in the AL West.

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Game Summary

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  • "At the beginning of the road trip, we looked like a tired club coming out of a homestand with the Texas heat," Texas manager Johnny Oates said. "We seem to have more body life and are playing with more intensity in these cooler temperatures."

    Texas has pounded Cleveland pitching, hitting 10 homers in winning the first three games of the four-game series by a combined 34-10 score.

    John Burkett (4-6) pitched eight strong innings to get his first victory since July 22. He held Cleveland's powerful lineup to one run and five hits, and had a season-high eight strikeouts.

    "This was my best outing of the year, definitely," Burkett said after lowering his ERA from 6.30 to 5.90. "When I get my fastball up to 86, 87, 88 mph like tonight, my changeup is 15 mph slower and makes me more effective."

    Palmeiro snapped a 1-1 tie in the seventh with his 33rd homer of the season. Rusty Greer opened the inning with a single and went to third on a double by Juan Gonzalez before Palmeiro homered off Charles Nagy (13-8).

    "I knew I had first base open and tried to throw a pitch down, but hung it up high," Nagy said. "Palmeiro is hot. He's a great hitter. And we keep making bad pitches to him."

    It was Palmeiro's third homer in three games.

    "I wasn't thinking about breaking up the game," Palmeiro said. "I was just trying to pull the ball and get the runner home from third and move the guy on second."

    After Todd Zeile singled, Nagy was replaced by Ricardo Rincon, who was helped by two sensational fielding plays.

    Roberto Alomar made a diving stop of a sharp grounder by Lee Stevens and flipped the ball over his back to shortstop Omar Vizquel to force Zeile. Clayton then hit his seventh homer for a 6-1 lead.

    After Tom Goodwin walked, Mark McLemore hit a drive into the gap in right-center, but Manny Ramirez made a running, backhanded catch and doubled Goodwin off first base to end the inning.

    Texas, which has 17 homers in its last five games, scratched out a first-inning run when McLemore singled, went to third on a one-out single by Greer and scored on a groundout by Gonzalez.

    Cleveland tied it in the sixth. Vizquel got a bunt single, stole second and scored on Ramirez's one-out single to right.

    Ramirez went to third on David Justice's single to right, but Burkett then struck out Jim Thome and Richie Sexson to end the rally.

    Nagy said he had experienced flu-like symptoms all week and "maybe got a bit weak in the seventh. I made good pitches for six innings and then a lot of bad ones in the seventh."


  • Before the game, Cleveland put left-hander Mark Langston on the 15-day disabled list with a pulled left quadriceps, optioned lefty Tom Martin to Triple-A Buffalo and brought up right-hander Jason Rakers and lefty Chris Haney from Buffalo.
  • Nagy's fourth strikeout of the game gave him 1,105 in his Indians career, passing Gary Bell for sixth place on the team's all-time list.
  • Texas has 44 runs and 60 hits in its last four games.
  • Palmeiro is 4-for-10 (.400) with three homers and eight RBIs in the series.
  • Cleveland's Dwight Gooden will begin a rehab assignment at Double-A Akron on Thursday night. The right-hander, out with a strained shoulder since Aug. 3, will be on a pitch count of 60.

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