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Nix has career-high five RBI

4/26/2004

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- When Alex Rodriguez, Rafael Palmeiro,
Juan Gonzalez and Carl Everett left Texas in the offseason, no one
thought the Rangers' offense would be this prolific.

Don't tell that to Texas' young lineup.

Laynce Nix, Rod Barajas and rookie Adrian Gonzalez hit
consecutive homers in the sixth inning to match a team record, and
the Rangers had five home runs in a 14-6 win over the Seattle
Mariners on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.

"You're talking to a bunch of kids," Kevin Mench said. "We
don't know any better. It seems like every night there's a spark."

Rodriguez, Palmeiro, Gonzalez and Everett combined for 127 of
Texas' major league-leading 239 homers last season, but the Rangers
decided to trim payroll and go with a young squad.

The Rangers, picked to finish last in the AL West, improved to
11-8, their best record after 19 games since the start of the 1999
season. Texas has finished last in the division the past four
seasons.

Mench had a homer and a triple among his career-best four hits
and tied a team record with five runs to help the Rangers assure
themselves a share of first place in the AL West.

"Hitting is contagious and we're really swinging the bats well
right now," said Nix, who also hit a leadoff homer in the fourth
and finished with a career-high five RBI. "If someone has an off
day, then someone else picks it up."

Bret Boone and Edgar Martinez had three hits apiece for Seattle,
on its second five-game losing streak of the season. The Mariners
have been last in the AL West for more than two weeks after winning
90-plus games each of the past four seasons.

"For sure it's shocking to us," manager Bob Melvin said. "But
we're not too deep into the season. Everything is going to
change."

Seattle, which has been leaning on its pitching staff to keep
the team competitive, gave up 27 runs in the three-game series.

"I don't know what happened," Melvin said. "They were hitting
everything we threw up there. I can't explain it."

John Wasdin made his first start for Texas after his contract
was purchased from Triple-A Oklahoma earlier in the day. Wasdin
left with a 9-3 lead after 4 2-3 innings, one out short of
qualifying for the victory.

Erasmo Ramirez relieved, but did not pick up the decision after
allowing three runs and four hits in one inning.

Carlos Almanzar (2-0) was awarded the decision by the official
scorer because Almanzar held the Mariners scoreless on two hits
over 2 2-3 innings.

Wasdin was making his first major league start since last July
20 for Toronto. He allowed three runs and seven hits. Kenny Rogers
was Texas' scheduled starter, but was replaced when he came down
with flulike symptoms Friday.

The Rangers scored four runs in the second off Ryan Franklin
(1-1), highlighted by Mench's leadoff homer, Gonzalez's RBI double,
and run-scoring singles by Eric Young and Hank Blalock.

Gonzalez finished with three of Texas' 17 hits and had three
RBI.

John Olerud led off the third with his first homer of the
season, but the Rangers added two runs on Mench's RBI triple and
Nix's sacrifice fly to make it 6-1.

Blalock's RBI single in the third made it 7-1.

Franklin allowed seven runs and nine hits over 2 2-3 innings,
the shortest start of his career.

"This is something we haven't experienced in the last four
years," Franklin said. "There are many of us here who are
spoiled. We're not getting it done and it's frustrating."

Martinez's RBI double in the fourth narrowed the deficit to 7-2,
but Nix's two-run shot in the bottom half made it 9-2.

Scott Spiezio's sacrifice fly in the fifth pulled Seattle within
9-3. Run-scoring singles in the sixth by Ichiro Suzuki, Spiezio and
Boone made it 9-6.

In the sixth, the bottom three hitters in Texas' order homered.
Nix's two-run shot was followed by Barajas and then Gonzalez's
first major league homer extended the lead to 12-6.

Game notes
Texas improved its team batting average to .315. ...Mench
became the third Ranger to score five runs in a game, joining Pete
O'Brien and Luis Alicea. ...Texas has hit three consecutive homers
four times, the latest in 1999. ... Nix had his second career
multihomer game. ... Seattle's Raul Ibanez was back in the starting
lineup after missing Saturday night's game with a bruised tailbone
sustained Friday in an outfield collision with Spiezio. ...Olerud's
homer was his first since Sept. 19. ...Texas 1B Mark Teixeira is
scheduled to begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment with
Double-A Frisco this week. Teixeira has been on the DL since April
16 due to a strained left oblique muscle.