Rangers roll behind Padilla's pitching, Blalock's hitting

ARLINGTON, Texas (ESPN.com News Services) -- Vicente Padilla kept throwing fastballs,
one after another. Inside and outside. Up and down.

"Each one of those pitches looks different halfway to home
plate. His ability to mix them all in, use every part of the strike
zone was key," Texas catcher Rod Barajas said. "I had the easiest
job on the field. He had it going on."

Padilla pitched eight shutout innings, allowing only three
singles, and the Rangers beat the Chicago White Sox 8-0 on
Wednesday night.

After allowing runners in each of the first four innings, twice
hitting A.J. Pierzynski with pitches, Padilla (6-4) retired 14 of
his last 16 batters. The right-hander struck out seven -- five in a
six-batter span -- and walked three.

Pitching coach Mark Connor said the first 50 pitches Padilla
threw, into the fourth, were fastballs.

"You want the other team to make the adjustment, and for some
reason they weren't able to get on that fastball," Barajas said.

Francisco Cordero pitched the ninth to wrap up the Rangers'
fifth shutout of the season. The White Sox were held scoreless for
only the second time.

Hank Blalock snapped out of his offensive slump with a homer and
an RBI double in his turn as the Texas designated hitter.

Blalock led off the second with his 10th homer -- a 416-foot
blast into the second deck of seats in right field -- that put the
Rangers ahead to stay. His double an inning later was part of a
four-run outburst in which they batted around to go up 5-0.

Blalock was the DH for only the second time this season. The
two-time All-Star third baseman was 2-for-17 his previous four
games, 0-for-8 in the series, before his 21st multihit game.

Gary Matthews Jr. was 3-for-5 and also homered for Texas, which
avoided its first three-game losing streak since being swept May
5-7 by the New York Yankees.

Javier Vazquez (7-4) struck out seven over six innings, but
allowed six runs and 10 hits to end his three-game winning streak.

Mark DeRosa, who started at third instead of Blalock, made a
run-saving defensive play in the third after the White Sox -- helped
by a walk and a wild pitch -- had runners at second and third with
no outs in a 1-0 game.

Tadahito Iguchi hit a slow roller and Rob Mackowiak charged home
from third. DeRosa barehanded the ball and made a sidearm sling to
Barajas to nail the runner.

"It was an instinct play. I saw (Mackowiak) out of the corner
of my eye and I knew that I could beat him to the plate," DeRosa

AL home run leader Jim Thome then had an infield popout before
Paul Konerko flew out.

"If you don't make that play, the gates are open," manager
Buck Showalter said. "Where they are in their order to come out
with no runs ... it's a crazy game."

Blalock's third-inning double came right after Mark Teixeira's
RBI double, which followed Michael Young grounding into a double
play. Kevin Mench and Ian Kinsler had consecutive RBI singles later
in the frame.

Pierzynski was hit by pitches his first two at-bats, prompting
home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi to issue warnings to both benches in
the fourth.

"I don't know what the deal was. He had pretty good control and
then he runs two first pitches in on me," Pierzynski said. `Why
did he do it? You're going to have to ask him. I faced him maybe
two times in the National League."

Padilla didn't comment after the game.

Pierzynski took a called third strike, a pitch on the outside
corner, when he batted in the sixth.

Sean Tracey relieved Vazquez to start the seventh, and the
right-hander threw two inside pitches to leadoff hitter Blalock before getting him to ground out. But
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen slammed a water bottle to the
ground, brought Agustin Montero into pitch and then was seen in the
dugout barking at Tracey, who pulled the collar of his jersey over
his head.

A source told the Chicago Sun-Times that Tracey was told to hit Blalock in retaliation.

"I tried to get Montero ready (to face Blalock) and wasn't able
to. It was a little late," Guillen explained. "It was my mistake.
I didn't get him up quick enough. I didn't want Tracey in that

Tracey refused comment.

Game notes
The Rangers had three doubles, increasing their majors-best
total to 161. They have at least two doubles in 13 of the last 14
games. ... Matthews is hitting .459 (28-of-61) over the past 13
games. ... Young extended his hitting streak to a season-high 13
games, and had an RBI single in the eighth. ... Vazquez has 23
strikeouts and four walks over his last three starts (18 innings).
... Phil Nevin was the Rangers DH for 44 games before being traded
to the Chicago Cubs on May 31. Showalter has used six different
players as DH since.