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A-Rod hits 40th, Palmeiro moves to 13th all-time

8/31/2003

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Alex Rodriguez almost decided to sit out
a game for the Texas Rangers on a rainy Sunday afternoon, which
would have ended his consecutive games streak at 524.

Then he had second thoughts, opting for his first start at DH
since Aug. 4, 2001, instead of his usual spot at shortstop.

Good call, A-Rod.

Rodriguez became the second player in major league history with
six straight 40-homer seasons, and Einar Diaz singled home the
winning run in the ninth inning as the Rangers beat the Minnesota
Twins 11-10 Sunday.

"I originally planned to take the day off," said Rodriguez,
who reached 100 RBI for seventh time in his career. "It was a
gametime decision. I thought DH would be a good compromise. I have
great passion for the game. Playing in the rain like that, you feel
like a little kid again."

Rodriguez hit his 40th homer in the first inning, a two-run
drive. Babe Ruth holds the major league record with seven
consecutive seasons of 40 or more homers from 1926-32.

"Anytime you're mentioned in the same breath with Babe Ruth,
the greatest player in baseball history, and to be so young, it's
flattering," Rodriguez said.

Mark Teixeira hit a tiebreaking, three-run shot to help the
Rangers snap a five-game losing streak.

The Twins are tied with Kansas City for second place in the AL
Central, 1{ games behind Chicago.

Rafael Palmeiro followed Rodriguez's drive with his 32nd homer
of the season and the 522nd of his career, passing Ted Williams and
Willie McCovey for 13th on the all-time list.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire brought in closer Eddie Guardado
(1-5) to pitch the ninth in a 10-10 game. Laynce Nix led off with a
single and went to second on Ramon Nivar's sacrifice bunt.

Nix advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored when Diaz hit a
single to left through the rain and over the drawn-in outfield
following a 12-pitch at-bat.

"Diaz battled and got the best of me today," Guardado said.
"I'm disappointed. I let the team down. I was throwing sliders in
and splitters and he just got the best of me."

Diaz originally thought about hitting the ball up the middle.
But when Nix moved to third, the game plan changed.

"You're just trying to get the fly ball," Diaz said. "I was
trying to be patient. It was tough to see the ball because of the
rain but you have to stay focused."

The Rangers wasted an early 6-1 lead, fell behind 7-6, then
rallied in the seventh against J.C. Romero.

Hank Blalock led off with his 24th homer to tie it at 7. Romero
walked Rodriguez, allowed a single to Palmeiro, then gave up
Teixeira's 20th of the season to give Texas a 10-7 lead.

Denny Hocking went 4-for-4 with a home run and three RBI for
the Twins. Torii Hunter had three hits, and Luis Rivas scored three
times.

In the eighth, Hunter's RBI single and A.J. Pierzynski's
sacrifice fly off Francisco Cordero closed the deficit to 10-9.

The Twins tied it at 10 in the ninth against Cordero when
Hocking singled, went to second when Shannon Stewart walked and
third on Rivas' bunt. Hocking scored on pinch-hitter Jacque Jones'
sacrifice fly.

Cordero (4-6) earned the victory after his ninth blown save. He
allowed one run and two hits over 1 2-3 innings.

Minnesota tied it at 6 with a three-run fifth helped by four
walks, then went in front 7-6 in the sixth on Matthew LeCroy's RBI
single off Joaquin Benoit.

Rodriguez's homer was his 14th in August, matching the team
record for any month held by Juan Gonzalez (July 1996) and Palmeiro
(August 1999).

Palmeiro's homer gave the Rangers a 3-1 lead.

Blalock had four hits, and Rodriguez and Teixeira had three each
for Texas.

LeCroy's RBI single off starter R.A. Dickey gave the Twins a 1-0
lead in the first, but Rodriguez's homer in the bottom half off
Brad Radke put the Rangers up 2-1.

Jason Jones hit his third homer in the second to push Texas'
edge to 4-1.

The Rangers chased Radke in the third on Nix's RBI single, and
Jason Jones added a sacrifice fly off reliever Carlos Pulido in the
third to make it 6-1.

Radke allowed six runs and nine hits over 2 1-3 innings, his
shortest outing of the season.

"A couple of bad performances from the pitching staff hurt
us," Gardenhire said after his team completed a 4-2 road trip.
"It wasn't a fun ballgame. We got down but kept battling."

Game notes
After the game, the Rangers optioned Nivar to Double-A
Frisco and purchased the contract of OF Ryan Christenson from
Triple-A Oklahoma. ... Rodriguez has seven career homers off Radke.
... Rodriguez had 31 RBI in August, his most in any month of his
career.