Rangers 6, Indians 5

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CLEVELAND (AP)—Before he became manager of the Texas Rangers, Buck Showalter heard all the Alex Rodriguez stories.

He now believes every one of them.

“Alex is as advertised,” said Showalter, hired in October following two years as a TV analyst. “A lot of people shirk responsibility, he puts it on his shoulders.”

Rodriguez came through in the clutch again, hitting a two-run double in the seventh inning in the Rangers’ 6-5 win Saturday over the Cleveland Indians, who have dropped nine of 10.

Rodriguez doubled with two outs off Jose Santiago (0-1) as the Rangers won for the first time when trailing after the sixth inning. Texas had been 0-10 when down after six, and the Rangers improved to 4-7 in one-run games.

Rodriguez, who is batting .556 (15-for-27) in his last six games, is also hitting .556 (5-for-9) with nine RBIs with two outs and runners in scoring position this season.

“I just try to get a good pitch and put a good swing on it,” Rodriguez explained. “We had a chance to score more runs the past few days and didn’t, but today I liked our two-out and two-strike approach.”

Texas first baseman Rafael Palmeiro went 1-for-3 and remains two homers away from career No. 500. Palmeiro was also hit on the right elbow by a pitch in the third inning but stayed in.

Showalter said Palmeiro, whose elbow was wrapped in ice following the game, will not start Sunday.

“He’s got another baseball on his elbow,” Showalter said.

Jay Powell (1-0), recalled earlier in the day from Triple-A Oklahoma City, pitched two innings for the win. He had been sidelined since April 18 with vertigo-like symptoms.

Ugueth Urbina, who blew his first of the season Friday night, pitched the ninth for his ninth save as Texas’ relievers combined for five shutout innings.

Matt Lawton homered and had three RBIs for the Indians, who took a 5-4 lead on his RBI single in the fourth.

Michael Young walked to open Texas’ seventh and Hank Blalock singled. Rodriguez then fouled off a 1-2 pitch before pulling his double just inside the third-base bag.

“I liked what we did to set that up,” said Showalter, not meaning to downplay Rodriguez’s hit.

The Indians scored twice in the fourth with two outs to take a 5-4 lead, but Santiago couldn’t protect it and Cleveland couldn’t put together another rally.

“When you do a good job of coming back and taking the lead, you have to hold onto it,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said. “We had chances again and didn’t capitalize.”

Tim Laker reached on a fielder’s choice and Cleveland’s backup catcher stole second—his first steal since June 13, 1993, for Montreal. John McDonald followed with a triple and Lawton’s single made it 5-4.

Palmeiro’s leadoff doubled sparked the Rangers to a four-run second off Jake Westbrook.

Carl Everett hit an RBI triple, and with two on and two out, Ryan Christenson hit a two-run single to make it 3-1. Young’s RBI single capped the inning.

Rodriguez snapped Omar Vizquel’s string of nine straight Gold Gloves last year, but the Texas shortstop’s first error of the season helped the Indians score twice in the second.

Rodriguez couldn’t handle Laker’s one-out grounder, and one out later, Lawton connected for his fourth homer. Lawton has raised his average 50 points—to .204—in the past four games.

Texas starter Todd Van Poppel, making his first start since Sept. 24, 2000, couldn’t find the strike zone in the first inning. He walked two and threw 10 straight balls before Ellis Burks took a strike.

Jody Gerut’s groundout made it 1-0, but Van Poppel struck out Casey Blake toend the threat.

Notes

Powell’s win was his first since July 21, 2002, at Oakland. … Ohio State’s national championship in football was celebrated on “Buckeye Day” at Jacobs Field. Eleven members of OSU’s team were on hand along with the school’s cheerleaders, alumni band and mascot, Brutus. … Indians RHP Dave Burba was released from his contract with Triple-A Buffalo so he can pursue an opportunity with Milwaukee. Burba, who won 57 games in five seasons with Cleveland, will report to Triple-A Indianapolis. … The Rangers released RHP Rudy Seanez, who was injured during spring training and was pitching at Triple-A Oklahoma. The 38-year-old has pitched for Cleveland, Los Angeles andAtlanta.

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