The Texas Rangers are beginning their dash to the finish.
"The marathon is about to end and the sprint is on," Rangers manager Johnny Oates said after his team stumbled in the second game of Friday's doubleheader against the White Sox.
Mike Cameron, Ray Durham and Mike Caruso each homered in the eighth inning for Chicago in an 8-7 victory to give the White Sox a split with the Rangers.
"It was our biggest come-from-behind-win of the year," said White Sox manager Jerry Manuel, who is dealing with 12 rookies on his roster, not postseason plans. "That was a huge win for us tonight."
Will Clark homered in the 10th inning and was part of the Rangers' spurt of three-consecutive homers in the fourth for a 6-5 win over the White Sox in the first game.
The two teams tied an AL record by combining for 14 homers in the doubleheader. It was also done on May 22, 1930, when New York hit nine and Philadelphia hit five in a doubleheader.
Texas is now three games behind AL West-leading Anaheim, which beat Boston 7-6 Friday. Between games, Oates was asked if he was scoreboard watching.
"You're five months too late for me," he said. "I started watching on March 31. That's when the games started to count."
"The intensity level of the games is different," said Manuel, whose team was coming off a three-game seep over Baltimore. "You know they're battling for something."
In the second game, Cameron hit a two-run homer off Danny Patterson in the eighth to close the gap to 7-6. Durham greeted Eric Gunderson (0-2) with his 16th home run and second of the day to tie it 7-7 and Caruso followed with his fifth homer.
| Luis Alicea steals a base in the first game of Friday's doubleheader. (AP) |
"We've written off the first half," Durham said. "We want to have fun and play well."
Bryan Ward (1-1) picked up his first major-league win by getting two outs in the eighth. Bob Howry pitched the ninth for his first career save.
White Sox closer Bill Simas was not available because of a pulled abdominal muscle. His status was day-to-day.
Rusty Greer, Roberto Kelly and Royce Clayton homered for the Rangers in the nightcap.
Kelly hit his 13th home run with one out in the first. Robin Ventura answered in the Chicago second with his 16th home run to tie it 1-1.
Clayton led off the Rangers third with his second home run and Greer hit a three-run shot, his 13th, to go ahead 5-1 and chase starter Scott Eyre.
Durham hit a run-scoring groundout and Albert Belle added an RBI double in the Chicago third to close to 5-3.
Todd Zeile hit an RBI single in the Texas sixth.
Belle hit a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
Jaime Navarro hit Kelly with the bases loaded in the eighth to give Texas a 7-4 lead.
Clark led the Rangers in the first game, posting his first multihomer game of the year and 12th of his career.
"We've talked about him being an impact player," Oates said. "Will Clark is plenty good as he showed today."
Juan Gonzalez, Clark and Ivan Rodriguez hit consecutive home runs in the fourth, with Gonzalez raising his major-league-leading RBI total to 135 with his two-run shot.
"I get a lot of fun out of winning the game in general," Clark said. "Now, in the last month of the season, it's pressure packed. You've got to win every game. But this is also the fun part. You've worked six, seven months to be in this position where it's a lot of fun."
Clark's game-winning shot, his 21st homer, came off Bob Howry (0-3) with two outs in the 10th.
Xavier Hernandez (6-3) pitched two hitless innings. John Wetteland pitched the 10th for his 37th save.
Luis Alicea led off the fourth with a triple off John Snyder. One out later, Gonzalez hit his 38th home run, Clark followed with his 20th, and Rodriguez hit the next pitch for his 13th to make it 5-2.
"After Gonzalez homered, I lost a little concentration," Snyder said.
Jeff Abbott, Belle and Durham homered for the White Sox, who were coming off a three-gamsweep of Baltimore. Belle hit his 40th in the fourth, giving him at least that many homers in three of the last four seasons.
Durham's two-run shot in the fifth tied it at 5.
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