Nats lose third of last 18 games

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Kenny Rogers didn't throw many pitches without a runner or two on base. That's all right when they don't score.

Rogers pitched out of trouble all night, allowing just one of the 12 Washington baserunners he allowed to score over 6 1/3 innings. He won his career-best ninth straight decision in the Texas Rangers' 8-1 victory over the Nationals on Friday.

"I'm sure if you ask him, he didn't have his good stuff," shortstop Michael Young said. "But he ended up winning anyway."

Rogers (9-2) gave up eight hits and four walks, but the only run he allowed came on Cristian Guzman's leadoff homer in the seventh. The 40-year-old left-hander left with a 4-1 lead.

"He came with everything tonight and made pitches when he had to," Washington's Marlon Byrd said. "He doesn't slip into a pattern. We had been getting big hits, but it just didn't happen tonight."

After all the missed opportunities, the NL East-leading Nationals lost for only the third time in 18 games.

Hank Blalock hit a solo homer and two RBI singles and Kevin Mench also connected for the Rangers, who from 1961-71 were the expansion Washington Senators -- the last team to play in the nation's capital until the Montreal Expos moved there this season.

Frank Robinson managed Washington after appealing his one-game suspension. He was punished by Major League Baseball earlier Friday for a shouting match with Angels manager Mike Scioscia on Tuesday.

Rogers, 0-2 in his first four starts, lowered his AL-leading ERA to 1.98. Over his last 10 starts, he has allowed 12 runs in 71 innings, including 31 consecutive scoreless innings at one point.

Just like he has all season, Rogers only spoke after the game to one of the writers who regularly covers the team. Rogers' boycott of most media started after a report just before spring training that he threatened to retire without a contract extension.

Only two of the first nine runners against Rogers made it to third base, and one was thrown out trying to score.

"He's not going to give in," catcher Rod Barajas said. "He made them hit tough pitches and made them work."

After Guzman's second homer, Rogers allowed another hit and then walked Nick Johnson. The pitcher was visibly upset when umpires ruled the hitter checked his swing on a full-count pitch.

When manager Buck Showalter came out of the dugout to pull him after 113 pitches, Rogers slammed the ball to the ground.

Vinny Castilla hit into an inning-ending double play on reliever John Wasdin's first pitch.

John Patterson (3-2) allowed four runs and eight hits over five innings in his first loss since April 10 -- his first start.

"He pitched too much with the fastball and didn't have good command of his breaking ball," Robinson said. "That made it tough for him."

Alfonso Soriano doubled to start the second and scored his AL-high 50th run on a single by Laynce Nix, who is in a 3-for-33 slump. Blalock's 12th homer came an inning later.

Blalock hit an RBI single in the fifth before a sacrifice fly by Soriano. Mench's 12th homer sparked a four-run eighth that included consecutive RBI singles by Young, Mark Teixeira and Blalock.

Every starter had a hit for Texas, which finished with 15.

Soriano also had an impressive throw to get Byrd at home in the third when Johnson doubled to center. Nix played the ball off the wall barehanded and his relay skipped by the cutoff man. But Soriano scooped it up and threw a strike to Barajas.

Game notes
The only teams Rogers hasn't faced in his 17 seasons are the Cubs and Mets. ... Bobby Witt won 12 straight decisions for the Rangers in 1990. ... Guzman, who was hitting just .199, went 2-for-4. ... Patterson threw 20 pitches in the first inning, including 15 to Teixeira, who finally flied out to right.