Teixeira hits three-run homer in shutout win

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Ricardo Rodriguez has a chance to secure
a spot in the Texas Rangers' rotation if he pitches as well as he
has in his last two starts.

Rodriguez combined with three relievers on a shutout, and Mark
Teixeira hit a three-run homer to lead the Rangers over the Toronto
Blue Jays 4-0 Saturday night.

Rodriguez (3-0), coming off a three-hit shutout of Cleveland on
July 8, allowed eight hits in 6 1-3 innings, giving him 15 1-3
consecutive scoreless innings. Rodriguez was sidelined April 17 to
June 5 while recovering from appendicitis, then went to Triple-A
Oklahoma for six starts.

"Going through the injury, then going through Triple-A,
(Rodriguez's) last few starts have been unbelievable," Teixeira
said. "But that's what we've had all year. Whenever there's been
those questions about who was going to be our fourth, fifth
starter, somebody's always stepped up."

Rodriguez, Brian Shouse, Frank Francisco and Ron Mahay combined
for Texas' fifth shutout of the season, an eight hitter. The AL
West-leading Rangers (51-37) matched the 1996 team for the best
record after 88 games in club history.

The Rangers have been trying all season to solidify a rotation
that has been thinned by injuries, and Rodriguez's emergence has
been well-timed.

"I was in a tough situation, but I kept working and kept trying
to get hitters out," said Rodriguez, who has a 0.76 ERA in four
appearances for the Rangers this season. "I'm just glad I can help
the team. With runners on base, I just try to relax and make good

Teixeira hit his 20th homer of the season in the fourth inning
after Michael Young singled off Ted Lilly (7-7) and Alfonso Soriano
walked. Soriano, the All-Star game MVP, added an RBI single in the
eighth off Vinnie Chulk and went 3-for-3 with a triple and a

Teixeira, who has homered in three straight games, became the
fifth-youngest switch-hitter to hit at least 20 homers in his first
two seasons. Mickey Mantle, Eddie Murray, Ruben Sierra, and Chipper
Jones reached the milestone at a younger age than the 24-year-old
Teixeira, who hit 26 as a rookie.

Alex Rios had the first three-hit game of his career for the
Blue Jays, who lost their fifth straight and were shut out for the
sixth time this year.

Lilly allowed three runs and four hits in six innings.

Toronto, which stranded 13 runners, threatened in the seventh
when Eric Hinske hit a leadoff double off Rodriguez and advanced on
a groundout.

Shouse relieved and struck out Carlos Delgado. Rangers manager
Buck Showalter brought in Francisco, who struck out Gregg Zaun to
end the inning.

Blue Jays manager Carlos Tosca was disappointed with his team's
clutch hitting, especially against Rodriguez.

Toronto's three, four and five hitters -- Vernon Wells, Delgado
and Zaun -- were a combined 0-for-12.

"It gets frustrating," Tosca said. "I don't think (Rodriguez)
was overpowering or had a devastating breaking ball. He had a
decent changeup, but his stuff was ordinary for me."

Game notes
The Rangers moved 14 games over .500 for the first time
since the end of the 1999 season. ... Soriano started at DH for the
first time since June 25, 2001, for the New York Yankees. Soriano
is 8-for-10 with seven RBI in his last three games. ... Hinske
extended his career-best hitting streak to 15 games. ... Michael
Young went 2-for-4 for his 44th multihit game, most in the majors.