Now that he's in the other dugout, Alex Rodriguez is bringing out the best in the Texas Rangers. Fired up by a sellout crowd in Arlington, Texas, eager to boo A-Rod and aided by his eighth-inning error, the Rangers scored three runs in their last two at-bats to beat the New York Yankees, 4-3, yesterday.
Rod Barajas won it with a one-out homer in the ninth inning, prompting an October-like celebration. Teammates and coaches came streaming out of the dugout as the ball sailed into the seats -- and nearly all of them crowded around the plate to greet him.
"It's electric out there right now, a playoff atmosphere," Barajas said. "With the packed houses, it definitely makes it nicer."
Texas was down two going into the bottom of the eighth and won, spoiling a strong start by New York's Jose Contreras in his return from the minors.
Rodriguez went 1 for 4 with a single and two crowd-pleasing strikeouts. With New York leading, 3-1, in the eighth, his defense left fans cheering again.
Rodriguez charged a chopper from Alfonso Soriano, the player he was traded for, but couldn't squeeze it. The third baseman picked up the ball and made a strong throw to first, possibly even beating Soriano, but he was called safe.
Tom Gordon (1-2) had a chance to erase Soriano after stopping a comebacker by Brad Fullmer. Yet instead of starting a double play, he allowed a run to score by throwing the ball under the glove of shortstop Derek Jeter for an error.
After a bloop single by Mark Teixeira drove in Soriano with the tying run, Gordon got another potential double-play ball. But he made another bad throw, and it took a nice stop by Jeter to get one out and save an error.
Gordon admitted he took the mound in the ninth still thinking about his eighth-inning gaffes. Then came another regrettable throw, the 0-and-1 pitch that Barajas turned into his fourth homer.
Texas starter Ryan Drese retired his first 14 batters before allowing homers to Bernie Williams and Tony Clark on consecutive pitches with two outs in the fifth.
Tigers 8, Mariners 4 -- Jason Johnson pitched into the ninth and Craig Monroe hit a three-run double in a five-run eighth, leading Detroit over the Mariners in Seattle. Seattle's bullpen gave up seven runs in the eighth and ninth to spoil a strong start from Joel Pineiro.
Angels 3, Orioles 2 -- Vladimir Guerrero hit a go-ahead, two-run homer and Kelvim Escobar pitched seven strong innings, leading host Anaheim to victory.
A's 5, Royals 4 -- Jermaine Dye made a clutch catch in the top of the 11th, then scored on Bobby Crosby's infield single with two outs in the bottom half to give host Oakland the victory.
Twins 9, White Sox 1 -- At Minneapolis, Brad Radke (4-2) allowed one run in seven innings and Matthew LeCroy and Justin Morneau homered.
Devil Rays 6, Indians 3 -- Jose Cruz homered and drove in four runs, leading host Tampa Bay to its first three-game winning streak of the season.