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Mench's home run streak ends, but Rangers top Tribe

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Kevin Mench got his best licks on a postgame
ice cream cone.

Mench's home run streak ended at seven straight games -- one shy
of tying the major league record -- but Kevin Millwood won in his
return to Cleveland, leading the Texas Rangers to a 7-5 win over
the Indians on Saturday night.

Mench didn't come close to clearing any of the outfield walls in
Jacobs Field, going 1-for-3 with a sacrifice fly and two
strikeouts.

He was attempting to match the mark shared by Ken Griffey Jr.
(Seattle, 1993), Don Mattingly (New York Yankees, 1987) and Dale
Long (Pittsburgh, 1956). Instead, Mench will have to settle for
being the only right-handed hitter to homer in seven consecutive
games.

"No thoughts," he said after munching down a single-dip
dessert. "Don't care one way or another."

With one last chance to homer in the seventh against reliever
Jeremy Guthrie, Mench, who waited until the eighth before
connecting on Friday night to extend his streak, watched strike
three go by without a swing for the fences.

Mench hit a sacrifice fly in the first off Fausto Carmona (1-2),
struck out looking in fourth, singled to right in the sixth before
striking out again in the seventh.

And although he didn't set any records, the 28-year-old Mench
did bring himself some attention for his home run-hitting prowess.
He is best known for having a big head -- his size-8 cap is the
majors' largest -- and until recently wearing shoes that were too
tight.

During his streak, Mench hit two grand slams and drove in 20
runs.

"I had fun," he said. "There was some games that we should
have won in there. But we got a `W' tonight."

It wasn't the first time Mench went on a home run binge, either.
On June 30, he became only the seventh major leaguer to homer in
three consecutive innings, connecting in the fifth, sixth and
seventh against the Los Angeles Angels.

Millwood (2-2) was back at the Jake for the first time since
leaving the Indians as a free agent. The right-hander, who had
never before faced Cleveland in his nine-year career, allowed two
runs and eight hits in seven innings -- the type of outing he
routinely gave the Indians a year ago.

"It was a weird game for me, facing guys I played with last
year," Millwood said. "It was a bit emotional."

And for Indians manager Eric Wedge is a bit familiar.

"He looked like Kevin Millwood," Wedge said. "He has a
purpose with every pitch and he knows what he wants to do. I
thought our guys competed, but Kevin made pitches."

Brad Wilkerson hit a two-run homer for the Rangers, who led 7-2
in the eighth.

But Ben Broussard's two-run homer off Antonio Alfonseca brought
the Indians to 7-5. Alfonseca got out of the inning and Akinori
Otsuka, Japan's closer in the World Baseball Classic, put two
runners on in the ninth before getting his first AL save.

Otsuka took over as closer after Francisco Cordero blew a major
league record five games in April.

"It was good for him to get that first one for us," Rangers
manager Buck Showalter said. "He's under a lot of pressure,
everyone in his country is watching what he does."

Wilkerson homered on a 3-0 pitch from Carmona in the sixth,
giving the Rangers a 5-2 lead. Mench singled with two outs before
Wilkerson jumped on a grooved fastball, hitting it off the railing
above the wall in left-center.

Guthrie then gave up an RBI single to D'Angelo Jimenez and an
RBI double to Gary Matthews Jr.

Cleveland let Millwood off easy by running itself out of a
potentially big inning with a rare -- and mostly avoidable -- double
play in the third.

Ramon Vazquez hit an infield single and went to third on Casey
Blake's hit. Sizemore followed with a hard grounder to first
baseman Mark Teixeira, who smothered the ball and then threw home
when he saw Vazquez was hung up.

Catcher Rod Barajas ran Vazquez back toward third before tagging
him out, and then hustled between second and third to get Blake,
too.

"I don't know if Rod has ever run that far in his life,"
Millwood joked. Two innings later, the Indians closed to 3-2 on Blake's two-run
double. Millwood, though, stranded the tying run at third by
striking out Sizemore and retiring Jason Michaels on a grounder.

"It's the best I've pitched this year," Millwood said. "It
all worked together."

Victor Martinez got Cleveland's first hit off Millwood, a
second-inning single. It extended Martinez's string of reaching
base safely to 39 straight games, the longest streak since Albert
Pujols of St. Louis had 42 in a row from Sept. 24, 2004, to May 11,
2005.

Game notes
Mench has two streaks still alive: He's had an RBI in nine
straight games, two shy of the club record held by Larry Parrish
(1987), and his hitting streak is at a career-high 13 games. ... A
crowd of 37,496 came out for a Sizemore bobblehead giveaway. ...
Millwood is 10-12 when he faces a team for the first time. ... The
Indians have at least one double in 39 straight games.