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Pudge's Hot Streak Kills Twins


Rafael Palmeiro has been on hot streaks of his own, and he can only shake his head at the offensive rampage by Texas Rangers teammate Ivan Rodriguez.

Ivan Rodriguez homered twice and drove in four runs Monday night as the Rangers beat Minnesota 5-4 to remain unbeaten against the Twins.

Rodriguez is 15-for-23 with four homers and 13 RBIs in his last five games.

On Sunday, Rodriguez was 5-for-6 with four RBIs in the Rangers' 12-5 win over the Royals.

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Game Summary

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  • "This is the best streak I've ever seen a guy have in a short span," Palmeiro said. "He's on some kind of hot streak. Everything's coming together for him as a player. Experience and talent are coming into play."

    Texas trailed 3-2 with two outs in the seventh when Royce Clayton tripled off LaTroy Hawkins and Mark McLemore drew a walk from Eddie Guardado (2-3). Rodriguez followed with his 21st home run into the left-field seats.

    "I feel great right now," Rodriguez said. "I'm healthy and feel stronger. I'm just trying to see the ball, hit the ball and put it in play. I just want to win and help the team into the playoffs."

    Guardado took the blame for his high pitch to Rodriguez.

    "I take nothing away from Rodriguez or the Rangers," Guardado said. "The ball was high and he did what you're supposed to do."

    Rodriguez hit a solo shot in the third to give Texas a 1-0 lead and join Lance Parrish and Carlon Fisk as the only American League catchers with 20 or more homers in at least three straight seasons.

    Rangers manager Johnny Oates gave Rodriguez some games off earlier in the season so that he'd be fresh for the stretch run. Now that rest is paying dividends.

    "It's been a while since I've seen somebody in as good a groove as he's in," Oates said. "He's not going to be sitting down much from here on out."

    Said Rodriguez: "I've told Johnny Oates I don't want to be on the bench. I want to be in there all the time."

    Minnesota has lost all eight meetings with the Rangers this season.

    Rangers reliever Jeff Zimmerman (9-0) had his string of scoreless appearances end at a club-record 26, but still managed to pick up the victory.

    The victory enabled Zimmerman to tie Whitey Ford and Joe Pate for the AL record for consecutive wins at the start of a career. It also matched Pate's mark of consecutive wins by a rookie relief pitcher.

    Zimmerman allowed a RBI single to Matt Lawton in the eighth as the Twins narrowed the deficit to 5-4 and stopped Zimmerman's club-record scoreless streak at 29 2-3 innings. He hadn't allowed a run since May 25.

    John Wetteland pitched the ninth for his 32nd save.

    Palmeiro's sixth-inning homer, his 26th, put the Rangers in front 2-1.

    But the Twins rallied against John Burkett in the seventh. Marty Cordova led off with a double, Lawton walked, and Cordova scored on Chad Allen's single for a 2-2 tie.

    After reliever Mike Venafro struck out pinch-hitter Brent Gates, Lawton and Allen pulled off a double-steal. Valentin gave the Twins a 3-2 lead with a single to left against a drawn-in infield.

    Valentin tied it at 1 in the fifth with his fourth homer.

    Notes:

  • The Rangers are 18-5 vs. the AL Central.
  • On Tuesday night, the Rangers will go over 15 million in attendance in the six-year history of The Ballpark in Arlington.
  • The Twins placed left-hander Mark Redman on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to July 25, with a sore left shoulder. They recalled right-hander Dan Perkins from Triple-A Salt Lake City.
  • The Rangers assigned outfielder Tom Goodwin to the Charlottof the Florida State League on an injury rehab assignment.
  • It was the second multihomer game of the season for Rodriguez and the 15th of his career.
  • Parrish had 20 or more homers for Detroit from 1982-85. Fisk accomplished the feat for Chicago from 1983-85.

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

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