Rangers 9, Athletics 8
Palmeiro had a bloop RBI single and then homered twice as the Rangers rallied to beat the Oakland Athletics 9-8 Wednesday night. It is the first time Texas has won consecutive games since the final game of a seven-game winning streak May 23.
“It was good. They meant something and we were able to win the game,” said Palmeiro, who had homered just twice in his last 23 games. “Hopefully this will get us on a good streak.”
Palmeiro’s homers tied the game before a three-run eighth that pushed the Rangers ahead 9-6 and gave just enough margin of error for struggling closer Ugueth Urbina.
The Rangers trailed 6-2 before Palmeiro homered in the sixth and seventh innings for his 31st multihomer game. He has 507 homers, 18th on the career list and one behind Sammy Sosa, but has never hit more than two in a game.
“Those were two big blasts after you claw and claw to get back,” said Rangers manager Buck Showalter.
Michael Young’s two-out single off Jim Mecir (1-1) brought home Donnie Sadler, who had tripled before pinch-hitter Michael Lamb was hit by a pitch, to make it 7-6. Hank Blalock then had a two-run single.
“It feels great to come from behind,” Young said. “It’s definitely good for us, and hopefully we can keep this going.”
Alex Rodriguez also homered for the Rangers, who avoided their 19th loss in June, which would have matched a team record for the most losses in a month. They still have five more games to play before July.
Miguel Tejada had a pair of RBI singles while reaching base five times for the A’s. He was 4-for-4 with a walk, just six days after getting a career-high five hits against Texas.
Texas played its second straight game with Juan Gonzalez sitting on the bench. The two-time AL MVP is considering whether to accept or reject a trade that would send him to the Montreal Expos, and has until Saturday morning to decide. He could play, but manager Buck Showalter decided against using him.
Francisco Cordero (3-6), the fourth Texas pitcher, was the winner.
Urbina got his 20th save in 24 chances. But after blowing saves in three of his previous five outings, Urbina gave up a double and single to start the ninth before pinch-hitter Billy McMillon’s two-run double with one out.
“I’m not the type that throws everything out of the window that he’s done and how flawless he was for quite a period of time,” Showalter said of Urbina, who tied for the AL lead in saves. “We’re fortunate that he may not be as sharp as he normally is but is able to go get it done.”
Tejada’s RBI single in the fourth pushed the A’s ahead 6-2 and chased John Thomson, who avoided his 10th loss after giving up six runs on 10 hits in just 3 2-3 innings.
The Rangers scored three in the sixth, Palmeiro leading off with his first homer. After starter Aaron Harang got an out and was relieved, Chad Bradford allowed three straight hits, the last Sadler’s run-scoring double before Einar Diaz had an RBI groundout.
“They just took a lot of pitches. They know I am a fastball pitcher, so they waited for it and drove it,” Harang said.
Palmeiro’s second homer, his 300th with the Rangers, came with two outs in the seventh off Ricardo Rincon and tied it at 6.
Rodriguez’s 19th homer was a two-out solo shot in the first, but the Texas lead didn’t last long. The Athletics scored four times in the second after Eric Chavez’s leadoff single.
An inning later, Eric Chavez led off with his 15th homer to give Oakland a 5-1 lead.
Texas used consecutive singles by Blalock, Rodriguez and Palmeiro to score a run in the third. Palmeiro’s was a bloop to left, a ball that fell just behind the infield dirt but far from any fielder because Oakland employed the drastic defensive shift against the left-handed slugger.
“That was a good hit, too. There were two outs and we got a run in,”Palmeiro said. “I still like the home runs better.”
A 15-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy were hurt when a bat swung by Texas RF Carl Everett slipped out of his hands and flew into the stands in the second inning. Both had cuts. … Rodriguez played in his 400th game for Texas, and his consecutive games played streak is 464. That’s the second-longest active streak, behind Tejada’s 508. … Bradford gave up six straight hits overtwo games. He gave up hits to all three batters he faced Tuesday night.