ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- After pounding one of baseball's top
pitchers and setting season highs for hits and runs, the Texas
Rangers had plenty to celebrate.
Alex Rodriguez could soon be joining Derek Jeter in the AL East.
They also had something to ponder: What took so long?
A lineup built to bash did plenty of it Wednesday night,
roughing up Mike Mussina and routing the New York Yankees 17-6. Alex Rodriguez hit his major league-leading 36th home run during
a second-inning burst that featured seven extra-base hits, tying a
modern record last done by the Yankees in 1951.
The other six hits in the inning were all doubles, matching an
AL mark last done in 1982.
Rookie Kevin Mench had four hits of Texas' 21 hits and Mike Lamb
scored four times. Ivan Rodriguez, who hit a three-run homer, A-Rod
and Frank Catalonotto each had three hits. ''We were like Mike Tyson hitting an opponent,'' Rafael Palmeiro
said, emphasizing his words with a pretend uppercut. ''Some nights
you're going to get clobbered and some nights you do the
clobbering. Tonight was one of those where everything went well.'' In ending a three-game losing streak, Texas won for only the
third time in the last 10 home games and only the sixth time in 25
tries against the Yankees at The Ballpark in Arlington. The timing was certainly a case of better late than never. The
Rangers came into the game 18 below .500 for the first time all
season and were a season-worst 20½ games out of first. ''We haven't always been able to string a lot of hits
together,'' said Texas manager Jerry Narron, who has been so
exasperated by the entire season that he seemed to have trouble
enjoying the outburst. With homers from Alex and Ivan Rodriguez and an eighth-inning
shot from Ruben Rivera, Texas finished July with 52 homers, the
most in the majors and three shy of the club record for any month.
They're second to the Yankees in homers this season. Difference is, New York is in first place, mainly because its
pitchers rarely have nights like this. Certainly not Mussina
(13-5), who joined Hall of Famer Lefty Grove (1934) and Dustin Hermanson (1999) as the only pitchers to give up six doubles in an inning. ''This happened so quickly, you have to shrug it off,'' said
Mussina, who gave up seven runs and 11 hits in three innings. ''Six
doubles in one inning hasn't been done in, what, 60 years? It was
their day to be playing and not ours.'' Texas starter Rob Bell failed to savor the lead, which grew from
6-1 after two innings to 7-1 and 11-2. Although he won for the first time in six starts, Bell (4-3) was
pulled after allowing a three-run homer to Nick Johnson that made
it 11-6 in the sixth. He gave up six runs on eight hits and two
walks in 5 1/3 innings. The Rangers needed four more pitchers to
get through the final 3 2/3 innings. This was the most lopsided loss of the season for the Yankees.
It was the most runs they'd allowed since the Chicago White Sox got
17 on June 19, 2000. ''It was one of those games where we couldn't stop the
bleeding,'' New York manager Joe Torre said. ''You start to claw
your way back with six runs and you're still not close to winning.
That was the frustrating part.'' In the doubles-filled second, Ivan Rodriguez started the party
with a line drive to center that was misplayed by Bernie Williams.
Lamb, Michael Young, Catalanotto and Mench all had RBI doubles,
then A-Rod homered. Palmeiro followed with the record-tying double. Lamb homered in the third, his first in 35 games. Texas scored
four times in the fourth off reliever Mike Thurman, four more in
the seventh and two in the eighth. Jason Giambi and Alfonso Soriano each had three hits, including
a solo homer. It was the second straight night each has homered.
Nick Johnson hit a three-run homer and Raul Mondesi had three hits,
two of them doubles. Alex Rodriguez's homer was his 277th at shortstop, tying Ernie
Banks for second-most at the position; Cal Ripken Jr. holds the
record with 345. Earlier Wednesday, the Rangers acquired outfielder Todd
Hollandsworth and left-handed pitcher Dennys Reyes from Colorado
for outfielder Gabe Kapler and minor league infielder-outfielder
The all-time mark for extra-base hits in an inning is
eight, set by Chicago in 1883. Other teams with seven extra-base
hits in an inning: Boston Braves (1936), Philadelphia Phillies
(1949, 1986), St. Louis Browns (1922) and Boston Red Sox (1940).
... Pudge's homer was the 201st of his career at catcher, passing
Yankees great Bill Dickey for eighth all-time on the position's
power list. ... Palmeiro tied Willie Stargell for 34th on the
career RBI list with 1,540. ... Giambi and Soriano have homered in
the same game 12 times this year. The Yankees record is 14 by Roger
Maris and Mickey Mantle in 1961.