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Rangers rout Angels behind eight homers

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Kevin Mench and his Texas teammates went
to their strength Thursday: the long ball.

Mench hit three homers and Mark Teixeira had two as Texas hit
eight home runs in a game for the second time this season, leading
the Rangers to an 18-5 rout of the Los Angeles Angels.

Alfonso Soriano, Hank Blalock and David Dellucci also connected
for the Rangers, who matched their record for homers in a game.

"We were able to outslug them," Mench said.

During the game, Rangers owner Tom Hicks said Major League
Baseball will decide whether to discipline Texas pitcher Kenny
Rogers for an outburst Wednesday that sent a television cameraman
to the hospital and prompted a police investigation. A decision
could come Friday, and Hicks said a suspension was "probably
likely."

"At this point there's nothing the Texas Rangers will or can
do," Hicks said. "We will support whatever the commissioner
decides."

Texas split the four-game series after losing the first two
games by a combined score of 18-4. The Rangers trail the Angels by
6½ games in the AL West.

"I'm happy with how these guys responded," Rangers manager
Buck Showalter said. "They are one of the best teams in baseball.
To beat them, we had to be firing on all cylinders."

Mench hit a solo homer in the fifth inning against Joel Peralta
and two-run homers in the sixth and seventh off Jake Woods. It was
his fifth multihomer game, his second this season.

"It was a combination of things," Mench said. "It was a hot
day, there was a breeze, but we also put together some good
at-bats."

Teixeira took over the AL lead in homers with 22, two ahead of
teammate Alfonso Soriano, who homered leading off the third inning,
and the New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez. Teixeira hit two-run
homers in the second and fifth innings. He has eight multihomer
games, half of them this year.

Texas also hit eight homers on May 21 in an 18-3 win over the
Houston Astros and have a major league-leading 128 home runs this
season.

"We're glad to be back in the race," Mench said. "We know
it's going to be a dogfight all the way. I think it's going to come
down to the last day."

Chris Young (8-4) allowed three runs and five hits in five
innings, struck out seven and walked one. Rookie Ervin Santana
(2-3) gave up seven runs and seven hits in four innings.

Los Angeles went ahead in the first when Chone Figgins led off
with a double and Maicer Izturis followed with a drive to right
field that replays showed bounced off the top of the fence and off
the back wall for what should have been a home run. First base
umpire Tim Welke ruled the ball in play and Izturis ended up with a
double that advanced Figgins to third.

After Angels manager Mike Scioscia argued in vain, Juan Rivera
hit an RBI single, but Young stranded the bases loaded when he
struck out Robb Quinlan.

"A lot of games are won or lost in the first inning," Teixeira
said. "If you give up seven, eight runs in the first, the game
could have been over, so getting out of that inning giving up only
one run was huge."

Scioscia said right fielder Gary Matthews Jr. might have blocked
Welke's view of the play.

"It's a tough call," Scioscia said. "I don't know if Matthews
was in the umpire's way, but it looked like it hit something behind
the yellow line."

Dellucci's homer tied the score in the bottom half and Texas
went ahead 6-1 in the second on RBI doubles by Sandy Alomar Jr. and
Matthews, Dellucci's run-scoring single and Teixeira's first homer.

Vladimir Guerrero and Garret Anderson had back-to-back homers in
the third. Guerrero has hit safely in 31 straight games against the
Rangers, the longest streak against one team since Paul Molitor hit
in 32 consecutive games against the Chicago White Sox from 1993-96.

Scioscia's pitching staff kept the Rangers' lineup in check over
the first two games, allowing only four runs. But a shaky outing by
Santana in his sixth career start left the Angels in a deep early
hole.

"If you can pitch well, you can control them," Scioscia said.
"But we made a lot of mistakes because of our inexperience and the
Rangers took advantage."

Game notes
Rodriguez had the Rangers' previous three-homer game in
2002. ... The Angels have scored at least one run in the first
inning of their last seven games against the Rangers. Texas has
been outscored 19-2 in the first during that span. ... Soriano has
at least 20 homers for the fourth straight season, becoming the
fourth second baseman to reach the milestone. ... Dellucci had his
third leadoff homer this season.