Mariners 2, Rangers 1
SEATTLE (AP)—Kenny Rogers returned to the mound with boos from the fans, a berth on the AL All-Star team and more silence for reporters.
Rogers (9-4), who retired his first 11 batters, broke a bone in his right hand when he punched a water cooler June 17 and gave up six runs in his next start, June 22 at the Los Angeles Angels. The 40-year-old left-hander then was skipped over for a turn, and last Wednesday threw an angry fit that sent a television cameraman to a hospital and prompted a police investigation.
Rogers was suspended for 20 games and fined $50,000 Friday by baseball commissioner Bud Selig. The players’ association appealed the penalty, allowing Rogers to continue playing until after a hearing and a decision. His lawyers have issued a statement saying they advised him not to say anything.
“He performed just like everyone here expected. He’s a competitive professional who gave his team a great chance to win,” Rangers manager Buck Showalter said.
Baseball announced Sunday that Rogers was selected an All-Star for the third time, following appearances on the roster in 1995 and last year.
Because of the appeal, he will be allowed to participate in the July 12 game at Detroit, baseball spokesman Pat Courtney said. Rogers has not decided whether he will go, according to Rangers spokesman Rich Rice.
“He was voted in by the players. He appealed his suspension and the league will not hear it until after the All-Star game,” said Boston’s Terry Francona, the AL manager. “I abided by the process.”
Rangers pitching coach Orel Hershiser said Rogers was persevering.
“Kenny has had to deal with lots of things his whole career, not to belittle the event,” Hershiser said. He has dealt with pain, surgery, comebacks, aging, playing in New York for both teams. It’s not that he’s a stranger to forms of adversity. You learn from the start how to deal with it, and it’s transferrable no matter what the situation.”
Jamie Moyer (7-3) was the winner of the matchup of starters in their 40s. He gave up one run and four hits in eight innings and struck out five, allowing his only run when Gary Matthews Jr. homered on Moyer’s first pitch of the game.
Seattle, which stopped a seven-game losing streak, cut Bret Boone before the game. The three-time All-Star second baseman was designated for assignment— Seattle has 10 days to trade Boone or place him on waivers.
“It’s tough. I was looking at it, and I think it’s all for the better, really. I think it’s time for me to go,” Boone said, his voice breaking up. “It’s still emotional. I’m actually excited about what the future holds but … It’s a pretty sad day for me.”
Boone, 36, is hitting .231 with seven homers and 34 RBIs. He was benched for four games two weeks ago to work on his swing with batting instructor Don Baylor. On his return, he played well during a three-game series in San Diego, but manager Mike Hargrove said Sunday that “he has reverted back to where he was before.”
Seattle is responsible for the remainder of his $8.25 million salary this year. Boone talked to his teammates after the game, then spoke with reporters.
“We went through a lot together,” teammate Ichiro Suzuki, who beat out Boone for the 2001 AL MVP award, said through a translator, “I’ve been with him since 2001, and there really is not that many guys left from that 2001 squad. He played the game like a kid would play the game. He’s left a lot of impressions on me, and I’m going to miss him a lot.”
As for the game, Bloomquist singled to left leading off the eighth with the score 1-all, and Pat Borders flied out after twice failing to get a bunt down. Bloomquist stole second as catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. lost his grip on the ball and took third on Suzuki’s broken-bat single to shortstop.
Randy Winn hit a soft grounder to third baseman Hank Blalock, who threw to second in hopes of an inning-ending double play, but second baseman Alfonso Soriano couldn’t get the ball out of his glove to throw out Winn at first.
“I knew he was fast, so I tried to make the play as quickly as possible,” Soriano said. “That’s why I mishandled it coming out of the glove. I don’t know if we would have had a chance or not.”
Raul Ibanez then singled to chase Rogers, who was booed on his first step off the mound. Rogers also was booed at the start of the game when his image was shown on the center-field screen.
“As far as we’re concerned, when the game starts all that stuff is over,” said Texas shortstop Michael Young, also an All-Star for the second straight year. “For those 3 1 1/2 hours, you put it all aside and just play baseball. Kenny feels the same way. We expected him to pitch like Kenny does and he did. It’s just a shame we couldn’t help him out a little more.”
Eddie Guardado pitched the ninth for his 20th save.
Matthews, who hit a game-ending home run left-handed with two outs in the ninth inning on Saturday night, homered right-handed on his first swing.
Seattle tied the score in the fifth after Jose Lopez, Boone’s replacement, doubled into the left-field corner leading off. He advanced on Bloomquist’s flyout to shallow right-center and scored on Borders’ single to deep shortstop.
Texas threatened in the sixth when Young opened with a double and Mark Teixeira walked, but first baseman Scott Spiezio leaped to catch Blalock’s line drive, Soriano flied out and Kevin Mench popped out.
Texas leads the major leagues with 133 homers. … Seattle started a battery of 42-year-olds in Moyer and Borders. The Rangers’ battery was Rogers (40) and Alomar (39).