“I want to be the guy,” said Sweeney, 4-for-6 in extra innings this year. “When the game is on the line, I want to be at the plate.”
A-Rod’s two solo shots tied him with Barry Bonds for the major league lead with 39 homers.
After Joe Randa led off the 11th with a single off Erasmo Ramirez (3-1), Sweeney punched the ball up the middle to give Kansas City a three-game sweep and move the Royals back atop the AL Central by .0005 percentage points over the Chicago White Sox.
“We’ve got four or five guys in our lineup who are capable of doing that. That’s what you’ve got to have,” Randa said. “But Mike’s one of the best hitters in the American League, and you always like to see him in a situation like that.”
Sweeney’s game-winner came three innings after manager Tony Pena had to get between him and plate umpire Scott Nelson. Sweeney thought Cordero had hit him on the hand, but Nelson said after the game that Einar Diaz had caught Sweeney’s foul tip.
“I’m not going to lie on the ground writhing in pain for nothing,” Sweeney said.”
D.J. Carrasco (6-4) pitched two hitless innings for the win.
Randa hit a solo homer off Francisco Cordero with two outs in the eighth, extending his hitting streak to 11 games and giving the Royals a 5-4 lead after Rodriguez’s leadoff shot off Curtis Leskanic ignited Texas’ four-run eighth.
But Rodriguez led off the ninth with a shot to right off Mike MacDougal, who blew his eighth save in 34 chances.
“I just tried to get ahead of him, and he connected,” MacDougal said.
Royals’ starter Paul Abbott shut out the Rangers through six innings, allowing only one hit as he tried for his first win in more than 16 months. He was replaced by Jeremy Affeldt after rain delayed the game for an hour and 42 minutes in the bottom of the sixth.
After Rodriguez’s first home run, Laynce Nix hit a two-run double. Al Levine relieved Leskanic and gave up Mark Teixeira’s single and Einar Diaz’s RBI single before getting Michael Young to ground into a fielder’s choice and Hank Blalock to fly out to right.
Abbott struck out six and walked four. Blalock had Texas’ only hit against him, a soft single over the outstretched glove of second baseman Mendy Lopez, with two out in the third.
Abbott’s last victory was April 13, 2002, when he pitched Seattle to a 9-4 win against the Rangers.
Three of Kansas City’s runs were unearned, the result of two errors.
Mike DeFelice’s sacrifice fly scored Raul Ibanez in the second inning after he went to second on shortstop Rodriguez’s throwing error.
“I just didn’t make the throw,” Rodriguez said. “I knew Raul gets down the line really well, and I just didn’t make the play.”
Angel Berroa capped Kansas City’s two-run eighth with a bloop single that scored Ibanez from second for a 4-0 lead.
Valdes gave up two runs—one earned—on six hits and two walks. The rain delay began with one on and one out in the sixth, and Mahay relieved Valdes when play resumed.
“I thought Izzy pitched well,” Texas manager Buck Showalter said. “He deserved to come out of there with no runs.”
Texas is 0-9 against the Royals since its win June 2, 2002. Before Rodriguez’s homer, the Rangers had not scored since Rafael Palmeiro homered in the second inning of Kansas City’s 9-2 win on Tuesday.
The Rangers’ 21-inning scoreless streak was their second-longest of the season after a 22-inning streak from July 12-14. The Royals’ 21-inning shutoutstreak was their longest since 1989.
During the rain delay, fans watched the Kansas City Chiefs’ NFL exhibition game against the St. Louis Rams on the Jumbotron screen at Kauffman Stadium. … Rodriguez’s error was only his third in the last 79 games. His two homers gave him 14 this month, best in the majors. … DiFelice returned from a two-game suspension for throwing coolers and a trash can onto the field afterhe was ejected from a game Aug. 16.