Rogers continues mastery in Oakland, awaits Thursday hearing

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Kenny Rogers set aside his problems,
ignored the boos and pitched another gem in Oakland.

Making his third start since shoving two cameramen on June 29,
Rogers allowed six hits in seven innings to lead the Texas Rangers
past the Athletics 10-8 Saturday.

Rogers (11-4), who will find out later this week if his 20-game
suspension will be shortened, won for the 20th time in his past 21
decisions in Oakland. His hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

"Kenny has probably been the MVP of this club," Rangers
shortstop Michael Young said. "I don't know where we'd be without
him. Whenever we need a well-pitched game and it's Kenny's turn,
we're in good shape."

And Texas needed a strong start after nearly getting no-hit in
its two previous games against the A's. Rogers responded by
allowing three runs -- two earned -- with a walk and a strikeout.

"Kenny was Kenny," Rangers third baseman Hank Blalock said.
"He was doing what he's been doing all year."

Blalock matched his career high with four hits, including a
homer and two doubles, as the Rangers ended a three-game road
losing streak and broke out against an Oakland pitching staff that
did not allow a hit for 8 1/3 innings in each of the previous two
games. Kevin Mench added a three-run homer and Young also

"It seemed like we were kind of due after what happened the
first two days," Blalock said. "It was kind of weird but they had
two pitchers of that caliber. We take pride in our offense and I'm
glad we were able to turn it around."

Jay Payton hit his second home run in as many games as the A's
saw their five-game winning streak end. It was just the second home
loss in 14 games.

"Blalock hit five balls hard," A's manager Ken Macha said.
"We can't hold them down all the time. Rogers got those double
plays and there went our chances."

Trailing 10-3 heading into the ninth, the A's scored five times
against Kameron Loe, Brian Shouse and Francisco Cordero. They
scored their first run when center fielder Gary Matthews Jr. failed
to field Bobby Kielty's single cleanly, then added two more on
Keith Ginter's double.

Mark Ellis had an RBI single before Cordero relieved with a
runner on first and one out. After an out, Mark Kotsay had an RBI
single then Cordero got Bobby Crosby to ground out for his 21st
save in 25 chances.

The A's increased security while Rogers took his warm-up throws,
adding extra personnel, including uniformed police officers, in
both the stands behind the Rangers' bullpen and on the field.

Fans still managed to express themselves, lustfully booing when
he was introduced. He also heard it when he took the mound for the
bottom of the first.

Rogers silenced the crowd by facing the minimum through 4 2/3
innings, inducing three double plays in the first five innings.
Payton's seventh overall home run, with two outs in the fifth, was
just the sixth ball to the outfield against him.

Rogers improved to 22-4 overall in Oakland, which includes a
15-0 record as a member of the A's in 1998-99.

"He's been doing it for a long time," Rangers manager Buck
Showalter said. "He's been successful in a lot of ballparks. Every
time we needed him, he's been there."

After struggling through the first two games of the series, the
Rangers scored early against Joe Blanton (5-8). Blalock's 17th
homer led off the second and Young hit his 15th homer with two outs
in the third to make it 2-0.

Matthews singled home another run in the fourth and the Rangers
took charge with a four-run sixth, highlighted by Hidalgo's two-run
double. Sandy Alomar and David Dellucci also drove in runs to make
it 7-1.

"I wasn't as sharp as I should have been," Blanton said.
"Maybe I had too much time off and needed more of a bullpen

Jason Kendall doubled home a run in the sixth and scored on
Blalock's fielding error as the A's drew to 7-3.

Blanton had his five-game home winning streak snapped after
allowing five runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings. He walked two and
struck out five.

Joe Kennedy made his Oakland debut, becoming the 20th pitcher
used by the A's. He allowed two hits and a walk and retired just
two batters before giving way to Justin Duchscherer, who allowed
Mench's home run in the seventh.

Game notes
Rangers OF Laynce Nix (jammed left shoulder) was placed on
the DL after the game. OF Jason Botts was recalled from Triple-A
Oklahoma City. ... DH Erubiel Durazo will see Dr. Lewis Yocum for
further examination on his sore left elbow when the A's visit
Anaheim on Monday. ... The A's became the first major league team
to hand out marionettes as a promotion with the distribution of an
Eric Chavez look-a-like doll. ... Mark Teixeira was the only Ranger
starter not to hit safely.