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Two-run home run breaks tie in eighth

5/8/2004

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Ivan Rodriguez helped the Texas Rangers
win a lot of games and three division titles. Now, he's beating his
former team.

Rodriguez hit a two-run, tiebreaking homer in his return to
Texas, and the Detroit Tigers won 8-7 on Friday night to snap a
four-game losing streak.

"It's good to win as many games as we can," Rodriguez said.
"I know that we're here in Texas, but now we came from behind and
played a good game and got the win."

The Tigers trailed 4-0 after the first six Texas hitters, but
came back to tie it at 5 with a pair of homers.

Rodriguez, playing against the Rangers for the second time,
broke that tie with his shot in the eighth off Jeff Nelson. It was
his fifth homer of the season.

"Just to break the skid is most important," manager Alan
Trammell said. "To do it the way we did after falling behind, it's
not the way I scripted it."

Carlos Guillen went 3-for-4, including a three-run homer and RBI
triple that proved to be the difference.

Rodriguez spent the first 11{ seasons of his career in Texas.
The catcher made his major league debut at age 19, then was
selected to 10 All-Star games and won 10 Gold Gloves.

He left the Rangers after not being offered a new contract or
salary arbitration after the 2002 season. He won a World Series
last season with Florida, one of three National League teams that
played in Texas, then signed a $40 million, four-year contract with
Detroit.

After Fernando Vina's one-out infield single in the eighth off
Erasmo Ramirez (1-2), Rodriguez homered.

"He has a way of doing those kinds of things," Trammell said.
"He's a great player. He comes through with big hits, big plays."

Rodriguez had been 3-for-32 -- all singles -- with 13 strikeouts
in his career against Nelson, including 0-for-7 with four
strikeouts in the postseason against the former Yankees pitcher.

"Things sometimes change," Rodriguez said. "He threw me a
pitch over the plate and I hit a good one. He's had good success on
me, but today was my day."

Nelson, trying to coax Rodriguez into a double-play grounder,
was beat on a fastball.

"You have some success and you think he might be due, but you
still go out and try to get him out," Nelson said. "It just
didn't happen. It's frustrating."

Rondell White followed the homer with a single, and Guillen
tripled.

Al Levine (3-2), the third Tigers pitcher, worked 1 1-3 innings.
Ugueth Urbina, another former Ranger, worked the ninth and allowed
two runs before finishing for his third save in as many chances.

The Rangers made it close in the ninth when Vina couldn't handle
Brad Fullmer's grounder, allowing Hank Blalock to score. David
Dellucci made it 8-7 with an RBI single.

When Rodriguez came to bat in the first, he received a loud,
extended ovation and stepped out of the batter's box briefly before
grounding out. He finished 1-for-5, and the cheers weren't so loud
after his homer.

Detroit starter Jeremy Bonderman fell behind 4-0 after just six
batters. He then retired 14 batters in a row until Alfonso
Soriano's two-out single in the fifth, but didn't make it out of
the next inning.

Texas loaded the bases in the sixth on a one-out walk, a single
and an intentional walk to .105 hitter Brian Jordan. Rookie catcher
Gerald Laird grounded out on a high chopper to drive in a run to
make it 5-5, and Bonderman walked another to reload the bases.

Joaquin Benoit struck out seven and walked just one in six
innings, but the Rangers starter gave up two homers.

Guillen's three-run homer, a 412-foot shot that ricocheted off a
post in the second deck of stands in right field, got the Tigers
within 4-3 with no outs in the second.

Guillen hit a two-out single before Bobby Higginson's homer in
the fourth put Detroit ahead. Higginson had just one extra-base hit
in 57 previous at-bats over 18 games.

Young led off for Texas with his sixth homer, and league-leading
47th hit. Blalock doubled, Soriano was hit by a pitch and Fullmer
had a bloop RBI double. After Mark Teixeira walked, Dellucci hit a
two-run single for a 4-0 lead.

Game notes
Texas CF Laynce Nix, making his third start after missing
four games with a sore big left toe, played just three innings
before coming out Friday night because of a stomach virus. ... Pena
was 0-for-3 with two more strikeouts. He's 12-for-68 (.176) with 26
strikeouts his last 21 games. ... Since errors in each of his first
three games as the Texas 2B, Soriano has gone 25 straight games
without an error.