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Rogers in command for red-hot Rangers

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Rogers in command for red-hot Rangers

Postby WebHamster » Tue May 04, 2004 3:00 am

Arlington, TX (Sports Network) - Kenny Rogers twirled a four-hit shutout and was backed by an eight-run first inning, as the Texas Rangers won their fifth straight game with a 9-0 rout of Tampa Bay in the opener of a three-game series at the Ballpark.

Alfonso Soriano, David Dellucci and Michael Young each homered in the big first inning for the Rangers, who were coming off a three-game sweep of Boston and won for the ninth time in their last 10 games.

Rogers (4-1) suffered the lone loss in the club's last 10 games, but bounced back with his eighth career shutout and fifth as a Ranger. He also earned his 105th win with Texas, surpassing Bobby Witt for the second-most victories in club history.

"Kenny was in command the whole way," said Rangers manager Buck Showalter.

The veteran lefthander, in his third stint with the Rangers, walked just one and struck out four. He threw 123 pitches, including 80 for strikes, to improve to 7-1 lifetime against Tampa Bay.

Jose Cruz Jr. had two of the four hits for the Devil Rays, who have lost seven of their last eight. Three of those setbacks have been by shutout.

The Devil Rays were coming off an 8-2 win against Oakland on Sunday and were trying to win back-to-back games for the first time this season.

Tampa Bay starter Paul Abbott (2-3) struggled mightily in the first inning and finished allowing nine runs on eight hits and two walks in just 3 1/3 frames.

The Rangers sent 11 men to the plate in the first inning and blasted three home runs to open a big cushion.

Hank Blalock started it with a one-out single and Soriano followed with his third home run of the season. Brad Fullmer drew a walk and Eric Young reached on a two-out bunt single to keep the inning alive. Dellucci then drilled his second home run in as many games and fifth of the season for a 5-0 advantage.

Abbott's struggles continued as he yielded a single to Kevin Mench and walked Gerald Laird. Young then belted his fourth homer of the year to cap the barrage.

Texas added a run in the fourth. Young doubled with one out, took third on a single by Blalock and scored on a two-out wild pitch by Dicky Gonzalez.

Rogers was in cruise control from there.

"I didn't even look at the scoreboard after the second [inning]," Rogers said. "I knew I had the lead and had to keep throwing strikes."

The Devil Rays had just one baserunner from the fourth inning through the eighth -- a hit batsman in the sixth.

Tampa Bay threatened in the ninth. Cruz doubled to lead off the inning and Eduardo Perez drew a two-out walk, but Julio Lugo lined out to third to end the contest and give Rogers his 34th career complete game.
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