Rangers 9, Pirates 7, 1st game; Rangers 10, Pirates 4, 2nd game

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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—Kenny Rogers didn’t panic when he fell behind early. He just let the Rangers’ soaring offense carry him to another victory.

Kenny Rogers earned his ninth win, Brad Fullmer hit a grand slam and Texas completed a doubleheader sweep with a 10-4 victory over the struggling Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday night.

Rogers gave up a two-run homer in the first inning to Jack Wilson, but settled down to win his fifth straight decision. He was also helped by Texas’ offense, which had 13 hits.

“You don’t want to give up a quick lead,” said Rogers, who is tied for the major league lead in wins with Houston’s Roger Clemens. “But two runs in this ballpark doesn’t kill you. I knew our offense would come around and they bailed me out.”

In the opener, Michael Young, Gary Matthews Jr. and Herbert Perry homered, and Texas took advantage of two Pittsburgh errors in the seventh inning to win 9-7.

Mark Teixeira hit a three-run shot in the third inning of the nightcap for the Rangers, who homered five times in the two games.

Texas also swept its other doubleheader this year, May 1 against Boston. The Pirates are 1-2-1 in doubleheaders this season.

Rogers (9-2) allowed four runs and nine hits in seven innings, striking out six as Texas swept the three-game series. He was relieved by Doug Brocail to start the eighth.

“Kenny has been a rock for us,” Texas manager Buck Showalter said. “I like handing him the ball every fifth day.”

The Pirates have lost nine of 10 and are 1-5 on a nine-game road trip.

The teams were rained out the last two nights, forcing them to play a doubleheader on what was supposed to be an off day for both clubs.

“Nobody feels sorry for us,” Pittsburgh manager Lloyd McClendon said. “We got our tails kicked by a good team. We’re not going to get sympathy from anyone.”

Rogers was coming off one of his worst starts of the season last Friday against the New York Yankees. He allowed five home runs in four innings but didn’t get a decision in the Yankees’ 7-6 victory.

The long ball hurt Rogers again early in the second game when Jason Kendall singled and Wilson followed with his shot one out later to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead. Kendall had four hits and was 7-of-8 in the doubleheader.

“The bottom line is we lost two games,” Kendall said. “That other stuff doesn’t matter.”

Josh Fogg (3-5) gave up eight runs and nine hits in four innings. It was the most runs he’s given up since allowing nine against the Chicago Cubs on April 15.

Young singled off Fogg leading off the fifth and Hank Blalock followed with a double. Alfonso Soriano loaded the bases with an infield single.

Fogg was relieved by Mike Johnston. Fullmer greeted him by hitting his fifth career slam for a 9-3 Texas lead. It was the first grand slam for the Rangers this season.

Fullmer has struggled most of the season and his batting average dipped near .200 last week. But he is starting to find his groove and is 7-of-16 in his last four games with two home runs.

“I’ve been feeling a lot better lately,” Fullmer said. “Hopefully it will continue. We’ll see what tomorrow has in store.”

Teixeira’s three-run homer off Fogg in the third keyed a four-run inning and gave the Rangers a 5-2 lead.

David Dellucci’s RBI groundout brought Texas to 2-1 in the second.

Wilson had an RBI groundout in the fifth to cut Pittsburgh’s deficit to 5-3, and Kendall added a run-scoring double off Rogers in the seventh.

In the first game, the Rangers scored three unearned runs in the seventh.

With Texas trailing 7-6, Rod Barajas reached on Wilson’s error at shortstop leading off the seventh.

After Eric Young’s single and an intentional walk to Soriano loaded the bases, Teixeira hit a grounder to third baseman Chris Stynes, who had just entered as a defensive replacement for Bobby Hill.

But Stynes threw wildly into right field while trying to get the force at second base, allowing Barajas and Eric Young to score for an 8-7 Texas lead. Soriano then scored on Perry’s groundout.

Stynes entered the game without an error in 74 chances at third.

“He made the right play,” McClendon said. “He just didn’t throw it to the bag where he needed to.”

Frank Francisco (1-0) pitched 1 2-3 scoreless innings for his first major league win. Francisco Cordero got three outs for his 19th save in 19 opportunities, extending his club record for consecutive chances converted.

Pirates reliever Brian Meadows (2-2) gave up three unearned runs inone-third of an inning.


Pittsburgh’s Craig Wilson was hit by a pitch for the 11th time this season, tops in the majors. … The Pirates are 0-6 all-time against the Rangers. … Michael Young’s homer was his first since May 15 against Detroit.It was his ninth of the year.

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