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Pudge's 2 Blasts Lifts Texas

Rafael Palmeiro didn't even have time to get in any practice swings. Once in the batter's box, however, he made the most of his second real cut.

Palmeiro, making a rare pinch-hitting appearance, hit a three-run homer and Ivan Rodriguez homered twice Monday night as the Texas Rangers snapped Cleveland's six-game winning streak with a 13-5 win over the Indians.

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Game Summary

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  • Palmeiro was kept out of the starting lineup because of a sore right knee. But pinch-hitting for the second time this season, he connected for his 31st homer in Texas' five-run seventh as the Rangers rallied to beat the Indians in a possible postseason preview between division leaders.

    "I went into the back to see if I could hit, and before I took a swing I heard I was on deck," Palmeiro said. "I wasn't warmed up, so I just went out to see what I could do."

    Royce Clayton and Mark McLemore also homered for the Rangers, who posted their 34th come-from-behind victory.

    Rodriguez, who homered twice on Sunday in Chicago, hit a solo homer in the first and connected for a two-run shot, his 28th, in the ninth.

    "I'm not looking for home runs," he said. "They're just coming."

    Mike Munoz (2-1) got the win in relief. Texas' bullpen shut out the Indians over the final five innings and have given up just two runs in their last 24.

    Richie Sexson had three RBIs for Cleveland, which hadn't been beaten so soundly since a 21-1 loss in New York on July 24.

    "When we end a winning streak, we just don't end it, we blow it rigt out of the water," said Indians manager Mike Hargrove.

    Carlos Baerga contributed two singles and brought some energy to bored Cleveland fans, but the Indians' bullpen couldn't hold a one-run lead for starter Dave Burba.

    Baerga, a three-time All-Star second baseman with the Indians from 1990-96, was reacquired on Monday from San Diego to provide veteran experience and exuberance to a team counting down the days until the real season starts in October.

    Starting at third base and batting eighth, Baerga received a standing ovation from the Jacobs Field fans some of the same ones who hated to see him traded away in 1996 when he came to bat in the third.

    Carlos Baerga went 2-for-4 in his return to Cleveland.
    He struck out looking and made an error that led to a Texas run in the third as the Rangers took a 2-0 lead. But after singling to center in the sixth, Baerga pointed to the sky as he got another lengthy salute. He singled again the eighth.

    "It was really special," said Baerga. "Just to be in the clubhouse before the game. I couldn't believe it. I was saying, `Am I dreaming, or is this true?"'

    Texas trailed 5-3 in the seventh when McLemore hit his fifth homer of the season. Burba was gone after allowing a single to Rodriguez. Ricardo Rincon (2-3) struck out Rusty Greer, but gave up singles to Juan Gonzalez and Lee Stevens that tied it 5-all.

    "You can talk about those homers, but that little ground ball by Lee Stevens was the big hit of the game," said Texas manager Johnny Oates. "That kept up going and got the matchup we wanted, Raffy against the right-hander."

    Steve Reed came on and after missing a high fastball, Palmeiro, batting for Roberto Kelly, drove a 2-1 pitch over the wall in right-center. Palmeiro has faced Reed twice, and has a three-run homer both times. It was Texas' first pinch-hit homer this year and th third of Palmeiro's career.

    "I was looking for a pitch up because there was a guy on third base," Palmeiro said. "I got a ball in my zone, I think it was a slider and I hit it pretty good."

    Sexson capped a five-run third inning with a three-run double to the gap in right-center off Texas starter Rick Helling, giving the Indians a 5-2 lead.

    Clayton's sixth homer with two outs in the sixth brought Texas within 5-3.


  • Pop singer Sheryl Crow, in town with Lilith Fair, watched the game from a broadcast booth.
  • Rodriguez has hit 18 of his homers on the road.
  • Palmeiro is 2-for-20 in his last six games with both hits homers.
  • Baerga's last start at third for the Indians came on July 24, 1991.
  • Injured Cleveland 3B Travis Fryman took BP before the game for the first time since going on the disabled list July 4 with an injured knee. Fryman could begin a minor league rehab assignment on Aug. 23 if he doesn't have any setbacks.
  • Texas' 85 steals are two more than its '98 season total.
  • Sexson has had a knack for big hits this season with 37 of his 87 going for extra bases.

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