Rangers avoid losing three in a row

DETROIT (AP) -- The Texas Rangers are off to their best start in
six years after avoiding their first three-game losing streak of
the season.

Hank Blalock, Alfonso Soriano and Michael Young homered, and
Kenny Rogers had a solid outing to lead Texas over the Detroit
Tigers 6-1 on Saturday.

After trading Alex Rodriguez to the New York Yankees for
Soriano, the Rangers (22-14) have reached their best 36-game record
since 1998.

"It's a good feeling," Young said. "We know our pitching is
leading the way. If we can continue to do that, we can do some
great things this summer."

The Tigers likely will not reach greatness this season, but it's
safe to say they won't be awful again.

Detroit, which missed out on a chance to get back to .500 for
the first time since May 3, has 17 victories. The Tigers didn't
reach that win total until the middle of last June en route to an
AL-record 119 losses.

"This is a club that impresses me, that continues to fight,"
Detroit manager Alan Trammell said. "We have a long way to go, but
I like what I see. We're not a finished product, but we're on the
right track and we're making progress."

Blalock's 10th home run, and fifth in seven games, off reliever
Steve Colyer put Texas ahead 4-1 in the seventh.

Rogers (5-2) allowed one run on eight hits and no walks while
striking out two over 6 1-3 innings, and was pleased to help the
team stop its losing streak at two.

"It means a lot for us to stem the tide a little bit, get back
to winning, and have a chance to win the series," Rogers said.

Rogers didn't allow a hit until Omar Infante hit a two-out
triple in the third inning, then didn't give up another until Greg
Norton's two-out single in the fifth.

The Tigers finally broke through in the sixth by starting the
inning with four straight hits.

But they scored only one run -- on Rondell White's single for his
30th RBI -- to make it 3-1 because Rogers picked off Carlos Guillen
at first, and Craig Monroe hit into a double play.

Trammell, whose playing career ended with the Tigers in 1996,
said Rogers is a much different pitcher than he was when the two
faced each other.

"He was more of a thrower," Trammell said. "At the tail end
of my career, he started to get into pitching with a changeup and a
slow curveball.

"At 39, he's still pretty effective."

Nate Robertson (2-3) had a career-high 10 strikeouts, and gave
up three runs on six hits and two walks over 5 2-3 innings.

"I hate losing, so I'm not going to go home and tell mom and
dad that I struck out 10," he said. "We lost."

Robertson had three strikeouts in the first inning, but on a 1-2
count, Soriano's fifth homer just cleared the fence. Texas went
ahead 2-0 in the third on Blalock's grounder.

The Rangers added another run in the fourth, but it could've
been much worse for Detroit because the bases were loaded with no

Robertson got Brian Jordan out on a foul pop. Then, Robertson
thought he got out of the jam when Kevin Mench hit a grounder to
third, setting up a potential double play, but Mench beat the throw
to first and Herbert Perry scored.

The easygoing game was jolted briefly in the eighth when Detroit
reliever Danny Patterson hit Eric Young in his back with a pitch.
Several Rangers came out of their dugout as Young screamed at
Patterson, and the pitcher shouted back, "It was a changeup!"

The players didn't argue face-to-face or push each other, and
the game resumed after just a few minutes.

Game notes
The Rangers were 23-13 after 36 games in 1998, one victory
short of the team's best start in 1996. ... Young, among AL leaders
with a .369 batting average, hit a two-run homer (his eighth) in
the ninth inning, and his ninth double in the third. ... Detroit OF
Alex Sanchez (groin) missed his second straight game. ... Texas OF
Laynce Nix (sore neck) and OF David Dellucci (lower back) missed
their second straight game, and are day-to-day. ... Laird (calf,
shin) played after missing a game.