Rodriguez will try to continue hurting the Blue Jays with every aspect of his game when the Rangers try to clinch the season series in the teams’ final meeting of 2003.
Rodriguez, who is hitting .391 (9-for-23) with two homers, a double, a triple and four RBIs against the Blue Jays this season, hit a tiebreaking home run in the Rangers’ 5-4 win on Wednesday, but the three diving plays he made were even bigger.
“I’m more proud of my defense than what I do offensively,” said Rodriguez, who has just one error in 155 chances this season after winning his first Gold Glove Award last season. “There were a lot of tricky plays. It was big to get that one forceout and save the run.”
Texas, which won for only the second time in six games, beat Toronto for the 11th time in the last 13 meetings.
The Blue Jays had their five-game win streak snapped.
Carlos Delgado homered for the Blue Jays, his 17th all-time at The Ballpark in Arlington, the most by any opposing player.
The first baseman is tied for the major league-lead with 12 homers, and leads the majors with 37 RBIs. He is batting .467 (7-for-15) during a five-game hitting streak with four homers and nine RBIs.
STANDINGS: Blue Jays - 4th place, 9 1/2 GB, AL East. Rangers - 4th place, 6 GB, AL West.
BLUE JAYS PROBABLE STARTER: Cory Lidle (4-2, 4.80 ERA). Lidle is coming in off his third straight win, pitching a three-hitter in a 3-1 victory over Anaheim on Friday. The right-hander had given up 10 earned runs over 11 innings in winning his two previous starts. Lidle is 3-4 lifetime against the Rangers with a 5.33 ERA in 11 appearances, including nine starts.
RANGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Todd Van Poppel (0-0, 6.75 ERA). Van Poppel returned from a strained right groin Saturday in Cleveland. The right-hander struggled to find the strike zone in the first inning, walking two and throwing 10 straight balls. He went four innings, giving up three earned runs and five hits in his first start since Sept. 24, 2000. Van Poppel went 3-2 with a 5.45 ERA in 50 appearances last season. In 10 appearances, including three starts, against the Blue Jays, he is 1-1 with a 3.09 ERA.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Blue Jays - Delgado, .365 avg., 12 HRs, 37 RBIs and 29 runs; Orlando Hudson, 2 SBs. Rangers - Hank Blalock, .365 avg.; Gonzalez, 12 HRs; Carl Everett, 29 RBIs and 29 runs; Rodriguez, 5 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Rangers, 3-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Blue Jays - CF Vernon Wells is second in the majors with 33 RBIs. … 1B Delgado’s .365 batting average is third in the AL. … Toronto has the third-worst ERA in the AL at 5.52. Rangers - Texas leads the majors with 61 homers. … The Rangers’ 5.73 ERA is the worst in the majors. … RF Gonzalez has six homers in five games against Toronto this season.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blue Jays - 7-8 on the road; Rangers - 9-9 at home.
INJURIES: Blue Jays - RHP Bob File (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Pete Walker (shoulder), 15-day DL. Rangers - C Todd Greene (hamstring), 15-day DL; INF Herbert Perry (knee), 15-day DL; OF Doug Glanville (hamstring), 15-day DL; RHP Chan Ho Park (back), 15-day DL; RHP Ismael Valdes (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Jeff Zimmerman (elbow), 60-day DL; OF Rusty Greer (neck), 60-day DL.