CLEVELAND (AP) -- Over in Texas' clubhouse, manager Buck
Showalter went through a familiar postgame ritual. He praised the
Rangers' steady relievers, the defense and a powerhouse lineup.
Meanwhile, Cleveland manager Eric Wedge did his usual thing:
grumbled about his bullpen.
Gary Matthews Jr. and Mark Teixeira each hit two-run homers in
the seventh inning as Texas rallied against Cleveland's bungling
bullpen for a 9-8 win over the Indians on Wednesday night.
"We were in position to win in the seventh," Wedge said after
the Indians relievers blew their league-leading 20th save. "We've
got to make pitches and we didn't. It's the same story."
Teixeira connected off Jeriome Robertson (1-1) to tie it 6-all,
and two batters later, Matthews hit his off Rick White as Texas
improved to 5-5 on a 14-game road trip.
"It's fun hitting in this lineup," said Teixeira, who has
seven homers in his past 10 games. "Hitting is contagious, and
when you've got guys swinging like we do, you can get on a pretty
Soriano's 16th homer, a two-out shot in the eighth inning, set a
single-season club record for a Texas second baseman. Julio Franco
hit 15 in 1991.
Reliever Ron Mahay (2-0) struck out four in 2 1-3 innings as the
Rangers moved back into first place in the AL West, one game ahead
At 47-35, the Rangers are off to one of their best starts in
franchise history. A year ago at this point, they were 32-50 and 21
games out of first.
"We've got 80 games left," Showalter said. "Our guys like
being a part of this and they don't want it to stop."
While their success this season has been one of baseball's
biggest surprises, the Rangers aren't stunned by anything they're
"We're not surprised," Teixeira said. "Coming out of spring
training, we knew we had a good team, a good lineup, a good bullpen
and good starting pitching. We're playing just like we thought we
Once their bats gave the Rangers the lead, Texas' bullpen
Franklin Francisco got two outs in the seventh and worked the
eighth before giving way to closer Francisco Cordero.
"I know we've got some good hitters and a great lineup, but our
bullpen has been our collective MVP," Teixeira said.
"Until we get people to step up and settle into their roles,
we're going to have a problem," Wedge said. "We kept the heat on
them but we have to shut them down late."
With the Rangers trailing by two in the seventh, Teixeira tied
it at 6 with his 17th homer.
Fullmer doubled and Teixeira, the AL's player of the week and
batting .406 with 16 RBI in his past 10 games, hit Robertson's
first pitch over the wall.
David Dellucci walked and Robertson was replaced by White, whose
second pitch to Matthews landed in the Indians' bullpen, putting
Texas ahead 8-6.
Soriano, who hit 38 home runs for the New York Yankees last
season, homered with two outs in the eighth off Bob Howry,
extending the Rangers' lead to 9-6.
Not only has Soriano's addition helped the Rangers' offense, but
he has given them an identity as a team to take seriously.
"He's been huge for us," Teixeira said. "He's been in the
World Series, All-Star games. He was hitting home runs in the
Series as a rookie."
Lawton's 15th homer with one out in the sixth put Cleveland
ahead 6-4. The shot to right helped the All-Star match his season
home run total from 2003 in just 83 games.
Hafner's two-run double in the fourth had put the Indians up
5-3. run-scoring base hit.
Texas has won eight of nine vs. Cleveland since last
season. ... Before going just four innings -- his shortest outing
this season -- Texas starter Ryan Drese had pitched into the fifth
in 14 of 15 starts. ... Hafner has 40 RBI in his last 50 games.
... Dating to July 1 of last season, Indians starter Jason Davis
has only three wins in 29 starts. ... Indians SS Omar Vizquel went
3-for-5 and has hit safely in 10 straight.