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Ortiz serves up A-Rod's HR, does little else wrong

6/4/2002

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Ramon Ortiz hasn't won a game this season
in which he didn't give up a home run.

But since he's won more games than he's lost, the Anaheim Angels
are willing to ignore the right-hander's tendency for allowing the
long ball -- at least for the time being.

Ortiz, who has surrendered a major league-leading 18 homers,
gave up Alex Rodriguez's AL-leading 19th of the season with two
outs in the first and did not allow another hit until the seventh
as the Angels beat the Texas Rangers 5-2 Monday night.

``I don't really think the number of home runs a guy has given
up is an indication of performance,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia
said. ``If the way he's going about trying to get hitters out leads
to home runs, then we can live with that -- because there are so
many more positives to Ramon's style.

``He's a guy who's aggressive and challenges hitters. I mean, if
you look at his ERA, how deep he's been pitching into games, and
the chances he's given us to win every time out, that's more
important.''

Ortiz (6-5) allowed two runs, four hits and four walks while
striking out five in beating the Rangers for the second time this
season and eighth time in nine career decisions.

Garret Anderson homered and Brad Fullmer had an RBI triple for
the Angels, who began a season-high 10-game homestand with their
26th victory in 34 games.

Ortiz threw a first-pitch fastball to Rodriguez that landed an
estimated 455 feet from home plate.

``He absolutely crushed it,'' Anaheim shortstop David Eckstein
said. ``It was one of the longest balls I've seen. But fortunately,
it only counts as one run. We can deal with that, because Ramon did
a great job after that.

``That's where he's showing his maturity. He's been bearing down
when he needs to and getting the key outs. The home runs off him
are coming in situations that don't affect the team.''

The Rangers didn't get another hit until Mike Lamb's leadoff
single in the seventh. Gabe Kapler singled one out later, and
rookie Jason Romano lined a two-out RBI single to center on Ortiz's
114th and final pitch, trimming Anaheim's lead to 4-2.

Darin Erstad greeted reliever Randy Flores with a run-scoring
single in the seventh after Eckstein chased Texas starter Rob Bell
(2-2) with a one-out double. The right-hander was charged with five
runs and six hits over 6 1-3 innings in his Edison Field debut.

Troy Percival followed Ben Weber and Al Levine out of the
bullpen and got three outs for his 10th save in 12 chances.

Rodriguez, whose 52 homers last season broke Hall of Famer Ernie
Banks' record for shortstops, has seven in his last 10 games and a
major league-leading 55 RBI.

``I don't even look at my numbers,'' Rodriguez said. ``It's very
frustrating when we lose. I'd give up all those numbers for a bunch
of wins. That's what I'm all about. It's very hurtful when you lose
-- but as one of the leaders of the team, you just have to continue
to work at it, continue to get better and keep striving for
success.''

The Rangers' 12th loss in 16 games dropped them a season-worst
12 1-2 games out of first place in the AL West.

``We just can't get on a roll, like seven, eight, nine games in
a row. We just have to keep working on it and work on the
fundamentals,'' Rodriguez said. ``Obviously, that's what Anaheim
and a lot of the other good teams are doing right now.''

Anderson, who sustained a gash on the ring finger of his right
hand Sunday when Minnesota shortstop Cristian Guzman accidentally
stepped on his hand, tied the game 1-all in the second with a
leadoff homer.

``He was a little tentative gripping the bat in batting
practice,'' Scioscia said. ``But he thought he was going to be able
to put the bat on the ball and take some good swings. He wanted to
play, and he had a pretty good night.''

Game notes
Rodriguez has four career homers against Ortiz and 28
against the Angels. ... RHP Steve Woodard, who was designated for
assignment by the Rangers on May 27, decided to become a free agent
instead of accepting a demotion to Triple-A Oklahoma. ... Rangers
LF Rusty Greer, who made two diving catches in Sunday's victory
against Kansas City, did not start because of a sore lower back,
but had a pinch-hit single with two outs in the ninth. ... Eckstein
started at SS for the first time since May 21, when he sprained his
left knee. He was the DH in two other games after the injury. ...
The Rangers have homered in 12 consecutive games, totaling 19. In
May of last season, they set a franchise record by homering in 18
straight.