ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Kenny Rogers was apprehensive going to
the mound for his first home start since shoving two TV cameramen
and being suspended for 20 games. The mostly supportive response he
got from Texas Rangers fans overwhelmed him so much that it was
hard to pitch in the first inning.
Rogers overcame his emotionally charged first -- and a three-run
deficit -- not giving up another run after that, and the Rangers hit
five home runs in a 12-10 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on
"There's no way that I wouldn't notice all the fans and all the
support they showed. That's one of the big things players play
for," said Rogers, who after the game spoke to a group of
reporters for the first time this season.
"You want the fans to support you through good and bad. I've
had a lot of great times here. My track record and history, and
whole career here. They didn't forget about it."
When Rogers' name was announced during pregame introductions,
and again right before his first pitch, loud cheers mostly drowned
out an audible chorus of boos. The boos were more prevalent after
Shea Hillenbrand's two-run homer gave the Blue Jays a 3-0 lead in
Rogers (10-4) then worked through the seventh in his first home
appearance since his videotaped tirade June 29. He scattered eight
hits, and had three strikeouts with no walks.
"Obviously, he responded really well," manager Buck Showalter
said. "It's a real testament to Kenny."
While the 40-year-old left-hander believes he has earned the
right to go to the All-Star game next week with his on-field
performance, he still hasn't decided if he will go to Detroit. He
was selected on the players' ballot for the second year in a row
for his third All-Star selection in his 17 seasons -- 12 of them in
three stints with Texas.
"I haven't made up my mind yet," he said. "I know I belong
there without a doubt, even though there are other opinions out
there. ... If I took it away from someone who deserves it, that's
not something I want to do. If they want it, they can have mine."
Rogers was suspended for 20 games by commissioner Bud Selig and
fined $50,000, but can still pitch while the penalty is being
Mark Teixeira hit two of the five Rangers homers and drove in
six runs. The All-Star had an RBI single to go with his homers that
pushed his AL-leading total to 24.
The Rangers took full advantage of a controversial call that
gave them the first homer.
Scott Downs (0-1) retired the first eight Texas hitters until
Mark DeRosa's two-out single in the third. Gary Matthews Jr. then
hit a ball down the left-field line near the foul pole, and even he
had stopped running before umpire crew chief Joe West said the ball
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons came out to argue and Downs was
visibly upset as he stood near the mound. West, who was umpiring
third base, eventually called his crew together before confirming
his original call after a lengthy discussion. Replays from multiple
angles showed the ball was foul.
"I saw it hit the ledge on the pole," West said.
Downs didn't get another out. Michael Young doubled before
Teixeira had a run-scoring single and Hank Blalock walked. Alfonso
Soriano and Kevin Mench then greeted reliever Justin Miller with
consecutive homers to make it 7-2.
"I lost focus on what I was trying to do out there," Downs
said. "That played changed the mindset of the game. Instead of
being out of the inning, I began to get the ball up and they hit
Teixeira, who finished 4-for-5, hit a two-run homer in the
fourth, and two innings later added a three-run shot off Brandon
League. It was Teixeira's fifth multihomer game this season, the
ninth in his career.
Francisco Cordero, the third Texas reliever in Toronto's
seven-run ninth, got the final three outs for his 20th save in 24
chances. The right-hander took over with the bases loaded and none
out, giving up a two-run single to Vernon Wells. Frank Catalanotto
hit a three-run homer and Alex Rios hit a ball off the wall that
drove in one run in the inning.
Miller and League both joined the Blue Jays from Triple-A
Syracuse on Saturday after ace Roy Halladay (12-4), who would have
been the All-Star starter, was put on the 15-day disabled list with
a broken bone in his left leg. Halladay got hit by a line drive in
the third inning of Friday night's game.
It was Rogers' first start at home since June 17, when he beat
Washington for his career-best ninth straight victory but broke a
small bone in his non-pitching hand when he punched a cooler in
frustration after leaving in the eighth inning with a 4-1 lead.
After giving up six runs in 3 1/3 innings at Los Angeles in his
next start, he missed his turn at home against the Angels. That was
the same week of his outburst.
The Rangers have since tabled talks on a possible contract
extension until after the season. Rogers had been upset, refusing
to talk to most media, since a report before spring training that
he threatened to retire without a new deal.
Each team had 15 hits. ... The Rangers lead the majors with
145 home runs, their most ever before the All-Star break. They had
back-to-back homers for the fifth time this season. ... Toronto had
won its last three series, taking two-of-three against Tampa Bay,
Boston and Oakland.