Soriano ties A-Rod for major-league home run lead

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- While Alfonso Soriano has made it clear he doesn't like hitting in the No. 5 spot, he's doing it well for the Texas Rangers.

Soriano had his second straight two-homer game, this one in a victory as the Rangers beat the Cleveland Indians 6-1 on Saturday night. That's five home runs in three games to give him a
tie for the major-league lead with 10.

Not bad for a player who keeps saying he's not a home run hitter.

"That makes sense to me. If I think I'm a home run hitter, I think about it too much," Soriano said. "I feel comfortable, I feel great."

After leading off for the Rangers his first 22 games this season, Soriano was in the No. 5 spot for the eighth straight game. He's adjusting to the role, though his mind-set hasn't changed.

"I feel comfortable because I think now like I'm leading off," he said. "I think about it being the first at-bat of the game. I like leading off, and that's what I have in my mind."

Soriano led off the second and sixth innings Saturday with home runs. In between, he had an RBI double in the third that gave the Rangers a 4-1 lead.

The homer in the second was Soriano's third in three at-bats, after a pair of two-run homers Friday in an 8-6 loss to the Indians.

"I don't overanalyze it. He's seeing the ball good and putting some good swings on a variety of pitches," manager Buck Showalter said. "Obviously, his contact-to-damage ratio is pretty good."

Soriano is 9-for-14 with 10 RBI his last three games. Twelve of his last 15 hits have gone for extra bases. He even made a diving catch at second base for the final out of his ninth multihomer game.

The last Texas player with consecutive multihomer games was Alex Rodriguez in August 2002 against Toronto. A-Rod, traded to the Yankees for Soriano, followed a three-homer game with two more shots the next night against the Blue Jays.

Soriano and Rodriguez both have 10 homers this season.

"It's a little weird, especially for me," Soriano said. "It's not my game. I like to hit home runs, but that's not really what I do all the time."

Soriano has an American League-high 21 extra-base hits, with five straight in as many at-bats until he popped out to short right field against David Riske to end the seventh inning.

Ryan Drese (3-3) limited the Indians to six hits in throwing the Rangers' first complete game of the season. He made 100 pitches, 63 for strikes, in his fourth career complete game.

Finally regaining control of his sinker, Drese ended his two-game losing streak.

"I was pretty much just attacking the hitters and keeping it down in the zone," he said.

"We didn't do a very good job of making Ryan put the ball up," Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. "We were not patient like we wanted to be."

Scott Elarton (0-2) lost his 13th straight decision in 28 road starts since May 2001, when he won for Houston at Montreal. He is 0-4 with a 7.94 ERA in four career starts against the Rangers.

Elarton gave up six runs and eight hits, including all of Soriano's extra-base hits, over 6 1/3 innings.

Michael Young had two hits, an RBI groundout and was involved in the first six defensive outs. After all three Cleveland batters in the first grounded out to the shortstop, Young had two assists and the final putout in the second.

Travis Hafner hit a leadoff double for Cleveland in the second but was retired trying to advance to third on Casey Blake's
grounder to Young. Blake scored on Josh Bard's single for a 1-0 Cleveland lead.

After Soriano's homer in the second, Kevin Mench was hit by a pitch for the third time in five games. He scored on a sacrifice fly by Rod Barajas that broke the 1-1 tie and put Texas ahead to stay.

Young and Mark Teixeira had consecutive singles to start the third. Bard then blocked a pitch that bounced in front of the plate, but the catcher threw the ball into right field trying to get Teixeira at first, and Young scored. Soriano followed with his double.

Game notes
Texas ended a three-game home losing streak but is still 7-10 in Arlington. ... Riske has pitched 14 1/3 innings in his 11 appearances this season without allowing a run. ... Teixeira has an 11-game hitting streak. ... Texas leadoff hitter David Dellucci had two walks, upping his majors-leading total to 31. He has reached base in 18 straight games.