Ivan Rodriguez drove in the go-ahead run with a double in the
seventh inning and the Rangers overcame a two-run deficit to beat
the skidding Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2 Saturday night.
Rodriguez has three of the Rangers' five RBI in the series,
driving in both runs of a 2-0 victory Friday night with a homer and
a double. The Rangers also got three hits from Alex Rodriguez, who
was in a 5-for-39 slump.
"We have a lot of potential on this team, we just haven't been
able to put our full lineup out there,'' Alex Rodriguez said.
"Because of that we have to do other things and make sure we
Texas starter Rob Bell (3-2), just back from Triple-A Oklahoma,
fell behind 2-0 after three batters but settled down to get the
victory, the Rangers' fourth in a row and sixth in nine games.
Bell lasted six innings, giving up four hits and retiring his
final 10 hitters. He is 3-0 against the Pirates, beating them twice
early in the 2000 season for Cincinnati.
Bell got encouragement from new pitching coach Orel Hershiser
after falling behind 2-0 on Brian Giles' two-run double.
"Everything was positive,'' Bell said. "He was there saying,
`Let's bear down and mix some pitches, you're fine.' It's like a
fighter coming back to his corner after a round. You can't say to
him, `You're really getting hit, you're in trouble.'''
Bell has shuttled back and forth between Triple-A and Texas
three times, usually going down when the Rangers didn't need a
fifth starter for a while.
"It's tough, but you have to realize those things are business
decisions,'' Bell said. "You can let it frustrate you or you can
let it motivate you.''
Despite leading 2-0 and putting a runner on second with no outs
in the first, the Pirates were shut out the rest of the way by Bell
and three relievers. It was their season-high fifth straight loss
and eighth in nine games, and their 36th in 56 games since they
were seven games over .500 in mid-April.
Pittsburgh's last seven losses are by one or two runs.
"We've hit a little snag, but we'll keep working at it and I'm
confident we'll get it turned around,'' manager Lloyd McClendon
said. "We're losing a lot of close games, and that's what's
The Pirates had only two hits over the final seven innings, both
by Aramis Ramirez.
After scoreless innings by Anthony Telford and John Rocker,
Hideki Irabu pitched the ninth for his 13th save in 16 chances. He
has lost his closer's job to Francisco Cordero, who wasn't used
after pitching in three consecutive games.
Pittsburgh starter Jimmy Anderson, coming off his best start of
the season in a 5-1 victory Sunday over Cincinnati, led 2-0 in the
fifth but walked Kevin Mench and Bell ahead of Michael Young's
two-out RBI single.
"The only thing I was upset about was walking the pitcher with
two outs,'' Anderson said. "If I don't do that, we probably get
out of the inning leading 2-0. I thought I was in control and to do
that, it's stupid.''
Anderson has had recurring wildness problems, walking 14 in his
last four starts. He has walked at least two batters in every start
since his first of the season.
Texas tied it in the sixth on another two-out single, by Mike
Lamb following singles by Alex Rodriguez and Juan Gonzalez.
Ivan Rodriguez's run-scoring double off Mike Lincoln (0-2) came
after Gabe Kapler, pinch-hitting for Bell, singled to start the
seventh. Ivan Rodriguez is 7-for-18 in his last four games and is
19-for-56 (.339) since returning from a herniated disc that kept
him out nearly two months.
Despite their recent streak, the Rangers' 30 victories in
their first 71 games were the fifth-fewest in club history. ...
Texas is 7-7 in interleague play. The Pirates are 1-7 and have lost
the first five games of a nine-game homestand, all to AL clubs
Oakland and Texas. ... Bell won for the first time in five
appearances since beating Toronto 5-3 on May 2. ... Gonzalez
returned after missing three games with a bruised right thumb. ...
Lamb has started three straight games at third base after not
previously starting there this season. He made 18 errors in 2001
and 33 in 2000. ... The Pirates' two-run first was the only scoring
off Texas in 20 innings. ... Kenny Rogers and Bell won on
consecutive nights after the Rangers went eight games without a
starter winning. ... Neither the Rangers nor Pirates have a grand
slam this season.