Series: Game 2 of 3

Texas leads 2-0 (as of 7/17)

Game 1: Friday, July 16
Game 2: Saturday, July 17
Game 3: Sunday, July 18

Blue Jays 0

(39-51, 16-28 away)

Rangers 4

(51-37, 27-12 home)

    8:05 PM ET, July 17, 2004

    Globe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, Texas 

    123456789 R H E
    TOR 000000000 0 8 2
    TEX 00030001 - 4 6 1

    W: R. Rodriguez (3-0)

    L: T. Lilly (7-7)

    Teixeira hits three-run homer in shutout win

    ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Ricardo Rodriguez has a chance to secure a spot in the Texas Rangers' rotation if he pitches as well as he has in his last two starts.

    Rodriguez combined with three relievers on a shutout, and Mark Teixeira hit a three-run homer to lead the Rangers over the Toronto Blue Jays 4-0 Saturday night.

    Rodriguez (3-0), coming off a three-hit shutout of Cleveland on July 8, allowed eight hits in 6 1-3 innings, giving him 15 1-3 consecutive scoreless innings. Rodriguez was sidelined April 17 to June 5 while recovering from appendicitis, then went to Triple-A Oklahoma for six starts.

    "Going through the injury, then going through Triple-A, (Rodriguez's) last few starts have been unbelievable," Teixeira said. "But that's what we've had all year. Whenever there's been those questions about who was going to be our fourth, fifth starter, somebody's always stepped up."

    Rodriguez, Brian Shouse, Frank Francisco and Ron Mahay combined for Texas' fifth shutout of the season, an eight hitter. The AL West-leading Rangers (51-37) matched the 1996 team for the best record after 88 games in club history.

    The Rangers have been trying all season to solidify a rotation that has been thinned by injuries, and Rodriguez's emergence has been well-timed.

    "I was in a tough situation, but I kept working and kept trying to get hitters out," said Rodriguez, who has a 0.76 ERA in four appearances for the Rangers this season. "I'm just glad I can help the team. With runners on base, I just try to relax and make good pitches."

    Teixeira hit his 20th homer of the season in the fourth inning after Michael Young singled off Ted Lilly (7-7) and Alfonso Soriano walked. Soriano, the All-Star game MVP, added an RBI single in the eighth off Vinnie Chulk and went 3-for-3 with a triple and a double.

    Teixeira, who has homered in three straight games, became the fifth-youngest switch-hitter to hit at least 20 homers in his first two seasons. Mickey Mantle, Eddie Murray, Ruben Sierra, and Chipper Jones reached the milestone at a younger age than the 24-year-old Teixeira, who hit 26 as a rookie.

    Alex Rios had the first three-hit game of his career for the Blue Jays, who lost their fifth straight and were shut out for the sixth time this year.

    Lilly allowed three runs and four hits in six innings.

    Toronto, which stranded 13 runners, threatened in the seventh when Eric Hinske hit a leadoff double off Rodriguez and advanced on a groundout.

    Shouse relieved and struck out Carlos Delgado. Rangers manager Buck Showalter brought in Francisco, who struck out Gregg Zaun to end the inning.

    Blue Jays manager Carlos Tosca was disappointed with his team's clutch hitting, especially against Rodriguez.

    Toronto's three, four and five hitters -- Vernon Wells, Delgado and Zaun -- were a combined 0-for-12.

    "It gets frustrating," Tosca said. "I don't think (Rodriguez) was overpowering or had a devastating breaking ball. He had a decent changeup, but his stuff was ordinary for me."

    Game notes

    The Rangers moved 14 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 1999 season. ... Soriano started at DH for the first time since June 25, 2001, for the New York Yankees. Soriano is 8-for-10 with seven RBI in his last three games. ... Hinske extended his career-best hitting streak to 15 games. ... Michael Young went 2-for-4 for his 44th multihit game, most in the majors.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press