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Rafael Runs Rangers Past Jays

While the power focus is on Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro is putting up some pretty big numbers.

Palmeiro reached 40 homers for the second straight year, hitting his 10th in 11 games as the Texas Rangers routed the Toronto Blue Jays 8-2 Friday night behind Rick Helling's six-hitter.

Palmeiro had three RBIs, raising his season total to 124, second in the major leagues behind Cleveland's Manny Ramirez, who has 130. Palmeiro, who had a career-high 43 homers last season with Baltimore, hit a sacrifice fly in the third, a solo homer in the sixth and a RBI grounder in the seventh.

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  • He is one short of Ken Griffey for the AL lead in homers and his .341 puts him among the top six.

    Asked if he could win the Triple Crown, Palmeiro knocked on wood.

    "One day when I'm when I'm out of this game, hopefully people will look down and see my numbers and say I had a pretty good career," Palmeiro said. "But that's not important to me, I'm happy in doing my job and helping my team win."

    Helling (11-7), who hasn't lost in 13 starts since May 21, struck out eight and walked two in his eighth career complete game, his third this season.

    "In my last 20 starts I feel like I've been pretty consistent," he said. "I've given my team a chance to win."

    Helling allowed both runs in the fifth: Carlos Delgado's homer off the screen on the left-field foul pole and Darrin Fletcher's RBI double.

    Toronto, which has lost seven straight home games, dropped two games back in the AL wild-card race.

    Chris Carpenter (9-8) lost his third consecutive start, giving up six runs and 10 hits in five innings.

    "A lot of the balls they hit found some holes, and I just threw a bad pitch to Lee Stevens," Carpenter said.

    Lee Stevens' two run homer put Texas ahead in the second, and the Rangers made it 5-0 in the third on Juan Gonzalez's RBI single and consecutive sacrifice flies by Palmeiro and Todd Zeile.

    Palmeiro's homer in the sixth, which barely cleared the wall in left, made it 6-2.

    "He's having a very nice year, and he's quietly putting together a very nice career," Texas manager Johnny Oates said. "Another year of 40 home runs, and he'll get at least 140 RBI. He just keeps grinding it out."

    Zeile who went 4-for-5, had an RBI single in the ninth.


  • Palmeiro has a club record 36 RBIs in August.
  • The Rangers have won nine of Helling's last 11 starts.
  • Helling is 4-0 and has allowed just 11 earned runs in 48 1-3 innings against Toronto, a 2.05 ERA.
  • Shannon Stewart extended his hitting streak to 24 games with a sixth-inning single.

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