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Palmeiro breaks 0-for-24 slump with homer

7/7/2003

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- The best team in the American League was
no match for Ismael Valdes.

The right-hander pitched six strong innings and Rafael Palmeiro
hit his 510th career homer as the Texas Rangers beat the Seattle
Mariners 5-1 on Sunday night.

Valdes (7-5) halted a personal three-game losing skid, allowing
one run and four hits. He was the beneficiary of early run support,
striking out three and walking one.

In his three previous starts, Valdes had a 16.05 ERA. But he
shut down Seattle, which had an AL-high five All-Stars selected
Sunday, lowering his ERA from 6.51 to 6.14.

"I'll be able to sleep better tonight," Valdes said. "It
gives me the gas to keep going."

Rangers manager Buck Showalter said Valdes was much sharper than
in recent starts.

"Izzy had a crisper fastball tonight," Showalter said. "He
made some quality pitches to finish off hitters. It meant a lot to
him to give us those innings."

Palmeiro made it 4-0 in the third with his 20th homer this
season, breaking an 0-for-24 slump. He is 18th on the career home
run list, one behind Mel Ott.

Rosman Garcia pitched two scoreless innings of relief and
Francisco Cordero got three outs to finish it.

The Mariners (55-32) have a major league-best 31-15 road record
but fell to 3-4 on the trip that concluded Sunday night, marking
Seattle's first losing trip this season. Seattle, which had either
won or split its first six trips, dropped two of three to Texas.

"This was a big weekend," said Rangers center fielder Doug
Glanville, whose two-run single keyed a three-run second.
"Hopefully, we can turn this into some momentum we can take into
the second half."

Seattle's offense stalled against Texas, scoring seven runs in
three games.

"We're dragging a little," Mariners manager Bob Melvin said.
"We've been going pretty hard. We played four in Oakland and then
we were a little flat here. We didn't give up, but it was a down
day for us. We hit a little lull, but give (the Rangers) some
credit."

Mariners starter Gil Meche (10-4) had won six of his previous
seven decisions, but he was gone after four innings in his shortest
outing of the season.

Meche, pitching in front of family and friends from his native
Louisiana, allowed five runs -- four earned -- on six hits and exited
trailing 5-1.

Meche found out he hadn't made the All-Star team earlier in the
day, but said that had nothing to do with his poor outing.

"I wanted to make the team, but I've been scuffling a little
lately," Meche said. "I never expected to make it so I'll enjoy
the three days off with my family. Today I had trouble with
everything I threw. It was one of those days where you try to make
an adjustment but you can't do it."

Meche paid for his wildness in the second inning, walking Kevin
Mench and rookie Ryan Ludwick to load the bases after Juan Gonzalez
led off the inning with a single.

Glanville drove in two runs with a one-out single. The Rangers
made it 3-0 when Ludwick scored on second baseman Mark McLemore's
wild throw to first for an error in an attempt to complete a double
play.

Seattle All-Star Edgar Martinez led off the fourth with his 18th
homer to make it 4-1. Michael Young's fourth-inning solo shot, his
eighth, pushed Texas' advantage to 5-1.

Game notes
Palmeiro has at least 20 homers for the 13th straight
season, tying for the seventh-longest streak in major league
history. Palmeiro is tied with Reggie Jackson, Willie Stargell and
Billy Williams. ... Palmeiro has played in 1,501 games with Texas,
second-most in club history behind Jim Sundberg's 1,512. ... Texas
LHP Aaron Fultz allowed three runs and two homers in one inning of
a rehab stint for Triple-A Oklahoma. Fultz is on the 15-day
disabled list with a bruised left shoulder sustained when he
crashed into the outfield wall while shagging fly balls during
batting practice. ... Seattle 1B John Olerud started the night with
a career average of .382 (13-for-34) against Valdes, but went
0-for-4.