Rangers 9, Devil Rays 0

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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—Kenny Rogers refused to feel comfortable—even after his Rangers teammates gave him an eight-run lead after just one inning.

Rogers became the oldest Texas pitcher to throw a shutout since Nolan Ryan in 1991, and the Rangers cruised to its fifth straight victory, 9-0 over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Monday night.

Alfonso Soriano hit a two-run homer, and David Dellucci and Michael Young each had three-run shots in the first as the AL West leaders won their eighth in a row at home.

“I didn’t even look at the scoreboard after the second,” Rogers said. “I knew I had the lead and had to keep throwing strikes.”

The 39-year-old Rogers (4-1) gave up four hits, struck out four, walked one and helped protect his eighth career shutout when he made a lunging grab of a line drive by Rocco Baldelli with runners at first and second to end the third inning. It was the 34th complete game of Rogers’ career.

Ryan was 44 when he pitched his last shutout on June 11, 1991.

“Kenny was in command the whole way,” Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. “He’s always a good guy to have on the mound, but especially when you can put up that many runs early. He can use all his pitches.”

Rogers got his 105th victory with the Rangers, moving ahead of Bobby Witt for second place in team history behind Charlie Hough’s 139.

Carl Crawford led off the game with a single, Rey Sanchez and Jose Cruz Jr. singled in the third, and Cruz had a leadoff double in the ninth for the Devil Rays’ hits. Crawford was the only runner to reach third base.

Tampa Bay catcher Toby Hall called Rogers’ variety of offspeed pitches, “slop, but good slop. It makes his fastball look faster. It wasn’t a good night for us.”

The Devil Rays, the only team in the majors without consecutive victories this season, have lost nine of 11. Tampa Bay, coming off an 8-2 win over Oakland on Sunday, has gone 25 games without back-to-back victories. That’s the longest such streak since Baltimore failed to win two straight over the first 25 games in 1999.

After sweeping a three-game series from the Boston Red Sox over the weekend, the Rangers weren’t about to have a letdown against the lowly Devil Rays.

“The Boston series is over,” Michael Young said after Texas improved to a major league-best 17-9. “Our focus is on the team we’re playing.”

Texas, which has won nine of 10, sent 11 to the plate in the first against Paul Abbott (2-3).

Hank Blalock had a one-out single and Soriano followed with his third homer and second in as many at-bats. Brad Fullmer walked and Eric Young had a bunt single before Dellucci hit his fifth homer in his last 26 at-bats for a 5-0 advantage.

Kevin Mench followed with a single, Gerald Laird walked, and Michael Young delivered his fourth homer of the season to make it 8-0 in the Rangers’ biggest inning of the season.

Abbott got his pitches up, and he paid for his mistakes.

“If you pitch this team out over the plate, you’d better get it down,” manager Lou Piniella said.

Texas made it 9-0 in the fourth when Michael Young scored from third on reliever Dicky Gonzalez’s wild pitch.

Abbott, who started the night 6-1 with a 3.83 ERA lifetime against Texas,allowed a career-high nine runs and eight hits over 3 1-3 innings.

Notes

Rogers’ last shutout came on April 19, 2002, at Seattle. … Texas tied a team record with three homers in an inning. The Rangers have accomplished the feat 26 times, including this season on April 25 against Seattle. … Eric Young had his third bunt single of the season in the first. … Tampa Bay has allowed 15 runs in the first inning of its last two road games. … The longest streak of games to start a season without consecutive wins was 42 by theFlorida Marlins in 1999.

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