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Matthews hits first HR since Aug. 26

CLEVELAND (AP) -- All Gary Matthews needed was one big swing to
make him feel like a major leaguer again.

Matthews homered leading off the ninth inning and Hank Blalock
connected with two outs, leading the Texas Rangers to a 5-3 win
over the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday and sweep of the two-game
series.

Matthews, who hit an RBI double in the second and a sacrifice
fly in the sixth, connected on a 0-1 pitch from Rafael Betancourt
(2-4) to break a 3-3 tie.

The homer -- Matthews' first since Aug. 26 for San Diego -- was a
special one for the journeyman outfielder playing with his seventh
team since 1999. He signed with Texas in April after being cut by
Atlanta in spring training.

"It's my first since coming back up," said Matthews, who came
in 2-for-17 since his contract was purchased from Triple-A Oklahoma
on May 25. "Any time you can hit a game winner, it's really a big
lift."

Two outs after Matthews' shot, Blalock hit his 13th homer as
Texas won a third straight road game for the first time this
season.

The streaky Indians have had their last five games decided in
the final at-bat.

Betancourt sat and stared in his locker for several minutes
before showering.

"I made bad pitches, and that was it," he said. "I didn't do
my job."

Texas reliever Carlos Almanzar (5-0) picked up the win despite
giving up a tying single in the eighth.

Francisco Cordero walked two in the ninth before getting his
18th save in 18 tries, setting a team record. He had shared the
mark of 17 straight converted saves with John Wetteland (1999) and
Jeff Zimmerman (2001).

After the one-out walks, Cordero struck out Matt Lawton and got
Omar Vizquel on a foul popup for the final out and a place in
Texas' record book.

"That's nice for me," Cordero said. "It means a lot."

Jody Gerut homered for the Indians, who were blanked for six
innings by Texas starter R.A. Dickey.

The right-hander, mixing a fastball and changeup with an
offspeed pitch he calls "The Thing," allowed an unearned run and
six hits in 6 2-3 innings. However, Dickey remained winless since
May 2.

"I wasn't doing anything different than I have been," he said.
"But today I had my change, my fastball and "The Thing" all
working for me. When you have all three pitches, it makes a big
difference."

Down 3-0, the Indians got an RBI single from slumping Ben
Broussard (3-for-35) in the seventh and then tied it with two runs
in the eighth off reliever Brian Shouse.

Gerut hit his sixth homer with one out to bring the Indians to
3-2, and Victor Martinez followed with his first career triple.
Shouse then struck out Travis Hafner before he was replaced by
Almanzar.

Casey Blake greeted the right-hander with an RBI single, but
Blake got thrown out trying a delayed steal -- his second bad
baserunning decision in two days.

"I got a steal sign," Blake said. "I don't want to say I
panicked, I just delayed. I don't know why. We don't even have a
delayed steal sign. To be honest, I don't know what the heck
happened."

On Tuesday night, Blake hesitated on an attempted sacrifice bunt
in the 11th inning and was thrown out at the plate in Cleveland's
6-5, 12-inning loss.

The teams played their second game in 13 hours Tuesday. The
short turnaround affected the Indians, who didn't get anything
going against Dickey until the seventh.

Dickey was pulled with two outs after the Indians scored an
unearned run. As he left the field after walking Alex Escobar,
Dickey exchanged words and cold stares with Cleveland's outfielder.

"He eyeballed me like I walked him because I didn't want to
give into him," Dickey said. "I didn't think he should be staring
at me like he did. When I strike guys out, I don't stare at them
when they go back to the dugout."

Escobar was surprised by Dickey's reaction.

"He was (mad) about something," he said. "I didn't know why
he was staring at me. I guess it was part of the game."
^Notes:@ Rangers 2B Alfonso Soriano hit into his first double play
in 217 at-bats in the first. He hit into eight double plays with
the Yankees last season. ... The Rangers have won six straight
against Cleveland. ... Before the homers, Betancourt had pitched 7
2-3 scoreless innings in his last seven appearances. ... Like
father, like son. Matthews has also played for the Chicago Cubs,
Pittsburgh, the New York Mets and Baltimore. His dad played for San
Francisco, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Seattle and the Cubs.