Series: Game 3 of 3

Texas won 2-1

Game 1: Tuesday, September 3
Texas 7Final
Baltimore 1
Game 2: Wednesday, September 4
Texas 3Final
Baltimore 8
Game 3: Thursday, September 5
Texas 11Final
Baltimore 2

Rangers 11

(63-76, 27-41 away)

Orioles 2

(64-74, 33-34 home)

    7:05 PM ET, September 5, 2002

    Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland 

    123456789 R H E
    TEX 204050000 11 - -
    BAL 010001000 2 - -

    W: K. Rogers (13-7)

    L: J. Johnson (4-12)

    A-Rod first to reach 50 homers this year

    BALTIMORE (AP) -- On a night in which he joined a prolific list of sluggers, Alex Rodriguez also showed his skill at bartering.

    Rodriguez hit two home runs to become the first player in the majors to reach 50 this season, and three of his teammates also connected as the Texas Rangers cruised past the Baltimore Orioles 11-2 Thursday.

    Alex Rodriguez

    What will the Rangers' next move be if they are able to unload Alex Rodriguez.

    Rodriguez, who hit 52 last year, is the fifth player in major league history to have successive 50-homer seasons. He follows Babe Ruth, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Ken Griffey Jr.

    The $252 million shortstop managed to get hold of the ball that gave him 50 for the season, working a slick deal with the fan who caught it.

    ``A ball and a bat. Not bad at all,'' Rodriguez said. ``I'll take that every day.''

    Rodriguez was even more pleased with his accomplishment, although he wistfully wondered how nice it would have been if the Rangers, last in the AL West, were vying for the playoffs.

    ``I'm proud of 50 home runs in back-to-back years. It's a thrill,'' he said. ``It's kind of bittersweet because you're doing it in a situation where the team isn't excelling and doing great things. Still, a lot of the preparation and work ethic pays off.''

    Rodriguez homered twice against Jason Johnson, hitting a two-run drive in the first inning and a solo shot in the third. It was his ninth multihomer game of the season and the 29th of his career.

    He went 1-for-7 in the first two games of the series, but Orioles manager Mike Hargrove knew it was only a matter of time before Rodriguez heated up.

    ``The land mine is there. You just hope you don't step on it,'' Hargrove said. ``You can't throw a player like A-Rod up in the zone in the middle of the plate.''

    Carl Everett, Todd Hollandsworth and Michael Young all homered in a five-run fifth inning to give Texas an 11-1 lead.

    Texas has homered in a team-record 23 straight games, two short of the major league record. Rodriguez has accounted for 13 of the Rangers' 47 homers during the streak.

    Rodriguez drove in three runs to boost his major league-leading total to 124. The last player to lead the majors in homers and RBIs in the same season was Cecil Fielder in 1991.

    Can there be an MVP on a last-place team?

    ``All I can do is go out and play hard every day and help my team win. That's all,'' Rodriguez said. ``That's a decision the writers are going to have to make. I don't really get involved in all that.''

    The play of Rodriguez has been one of few bright spots for the Rangers, who have struggled throughout the season.

    ``It's unbelievable, a shortstop hitting 50 home runs two years in a row,'' Texas manager Jerry Narron said. ``It's amazing. You see him every day and you're not surprised by it, but it's still amazing.''

    Making his 300th career start, Kenny Rogers (13-7) gave up two runs and six hits in seven innings for the Rangers, who took two of three from the Orioles to win the season series 6-3.

    Jeff Conine homered for the Orioles, who have lost 11 of 12.

    Using Rodriguez's two homers, an RBI single by Carl Everett and a two-run double by Ruben Rivera, Texas built a 6-1 against Johnson (4-12) after three innings.

    ``Jason was sick to his stomach after the second inning, but he said he was fine to go out in the third,'' Hargrove said. ``His velocity was good, but it was very obvious early that he wasn't all there.''

    Maybe it was the prospect of facing Rodriguez that sickened the right-hander -- A-Rod is 8-for-17 with three homers lifetime against Johnson.

    The Rangers turned the game into a rout in the fifth. Everett hit a leadoff homer off Chris Brock and Hollandsworth added a three-run shot. Young then greeted Yorkis Perez with a drive into the left-field seats, the ninth time this season Texas has hit back-to-back homers.

    Conine hit his 13th homer in the sixth.

    Game notes

    Rafael Palmeiro went 0-for-10 with three strikeouts in t ... Baltimore SS Ed Rogers made his major league debut, entering as a defensive replacement in the sixth. He grounded out in his only at-bat.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press