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Rogers solid for seven; Texas avoids sweep

4/15/2004

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Minus Alex Rodriguez, Rafael Palmeiro
and Juan Gonzalez, the Texas Rangers still have a potent lineup.
Pitching remains an issue, and they were pleased to get a quality
start out of Kenny Rogers.

Rogers threw seven solid innings, Alfonso Soriano had three hits
and the Rangers avoided a three-game sweep with a 7-2 victory over
the Oakland Athletics on Thursday.

Rogers (2-0) gave up one unearned run and five hits in his 38th
victory at The Ballpark in Arlington, breaking a tie with Rick
Helling for the most wins at the stadium.

"Without a doubt this feels good," Rogers said. "The offense
gave me a six-run cushion. I feel comfortable with what I'm doing
right now. My mechanics were sound and I was able to keep the ball
in the ballpark."

Rogers got the pitching staff back on track after the Rangers
gave up 19 runs to the Athletics in the first two games of the
series.

A's manager Ken Macha had seen this kind of outing from Rogers.

"He worked the ball in and out, he knows what he's doing out
there," Macha said. "He made pitches when he needed them. That's
been his history."

Texas had lost four of the first five meetings with Oakland this
season and is 6-19 against the A's over the last two seasons.

Michael Young homered in a three-hit game for Texas, which had
16 hits to raise the team batting average to .337. Herbert Perry,
Brad Fullmer, and Rod Barajas had two hits each for the Rangers.

The Rangers have split their first 10 games, all against the AL
West.

"We're not satisfied with it, but coming out of the spring it
feels OK," Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. "We've played six
with Oakland and four with Anaheim and they're not going to go
away."

Texas got six runs and 11 hits in four innings off Rich Harden
(0-1), making his first start of the season after he was recalled
from Triple-A Sacramento for the start. He struck out six and
walked one.

Harden had a good fastball, but his breaking pitches were
hittable.

"He's around the strike zone, but he left a bunch of breaking
balls over the middle of the plate," Macha said. "And the Rangers
are swinging the bats well. The key to his success is the quality
of his breaking pitches."

Harden arrived from Salt Lake City on Wednesday night, but he
said fatigue was not a factor.

"Obviously I'm not happy with the results," Harden said. "I
felt solid at the start of the game, but I got the ball up over the
plate. I need to get that stuff down."

Oakland took a 1-0 lead in the third on Eric Byrnes' RBI
groundout. Bobby Crosby scored after leading off the inning by
reaching first on Rogers' throwing error.

Texas moved in front 2-1 in the fourth on run-scoring singles by
Perry and Kevin Mench.

The Rangers chased Harden in the fifth with Soriano's two-run
single and Fullmer's RBI single. Perry's sacrifice fly off Chris
Hammond later in the inning made it 6-1.

Young's solo homer in the sixth off Hammond stretched Texas'
advantage to 7-1.

"Their guys are certainly hot and they showed it," Macha said.
"Michael Young swung the bat very well in this series."

Oakland got a run off reliever Jay Powell in the eighth when
Jermaine Dye scored from second after Rangers left fielder David
Dellucci dropped Bobby Kielty's two-out line drive for an error.

Game notes
Rogers is 13-6 for his career against Oakland. ...Rogers
went 21-11 for the A's from 1998-99. ... The Rangers wrapped up a
4-3 homestand. ... It was a windy day, making it tough on the
pitchers. "I'd be in mid-windup, there'd be a huge gust of wind
and it almost knocked me down," Harden said. ... Young had his
seventh multihit game of the season. ... Barajas had his first two
hits for the Rangers. ... Oakland had won its previous six games in
Texas.