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Rangers avoid sweep at hands of Padres

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- With one big inning and a couple of
close calls finally going their way, the Texas Rangers avoided a
series sweep and a losing homestand.

Mark Teixeira, denied a game-winning homer in the series opener,
scored on a disputed call to cap the Rangers' five-run fifth inning
Thursday in a 5-3 victory over San Diego Padres, who had a run
taken off the board on another close play.

"Both were the right calls. I didn't feel like we got any
breaks," Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. "We got what was
due us, and we're due a few more."

Michael Young's two-run single in the fifth gave the Rangers a
3-2 lead before Hank Blalock's two-run double, when Teixeira was
clearly tagged out by catcher Josh Bard before sliding across the
plate.

But when Bard gathered himself and reached up to show his mitt,
the ball rolled out and umpire Tim McClelland called Teixeira safe.

"No question he was out. The question was whether he held onto
the ball," said Padres manager Bruce Bochy, who was ejected after
coming out to argue. "I thought he held it long enough. It looked
like his elbow hit the ground and it popped out. ... It's a
judgment call."

After scoring the winning run with an aggressive play in the
ninth Wednesday night, Ben Johnson cost the Padres a run Thursday
when he slowed down.

Johnson was at second base in the third when Mike Piazza hit a
two-out single to left. But Johnson slowed up coming home and
McClelland ruled he didn't cross the plate before Brian Giles was
thrown out going to third, and the run was disallowed. The replay
was inconclusive.

"When he rounded third, he was running well but then he started
to shut it down a little," Bochy said.

Rod Barajas had an RBI double after Jason Botts' leadoff walk in
the fifth for Texas, which finished 5-5 on the homestand. Gary
Matthews Jr. then had had a one-out walk before Young's second hit,
and Teixeira walked.

Blalock, who struck out on a changeup in the second, hit the
same pitch in the fifth from Clay Hensley (4-6) into the
right-field corner.

"We needed to bear down and score some runs before we got
swept," Blalock said. "We really went into this game confident to
finish this homestand 5-5. That's not what we wanted, but we had to
salvage it."

Teixeira got a small dose of redemption on his play at the
plate.

When Teixeira thought he had hit a two-run homer in the bottom
of the ninth Tuesday, first base umpire Bill Welke ruled it foul.
Teixeira then popped out and the Padres won 6-5.

In Wednesday night's game, Welke was behind the plate when he
said Young didn't touch the plate when sliding into home ahead of a
throw in the first inning. Young was called out, though a replay
showed he did sweep his hand across the corner, and the Rangers
lost 3-2.

Hensley, who didn't allow a hit until Young singled leading off
the fourth, was pulled after Teixeira scored and Bochy was ejected
for the first time this season.

"It could have gone either way," Bard said. "And that's not
what won or lost the game for us."

John Rheinecker (3-1) allowed 11 hits over 5 1/3 innings, but
the Padres managed only two runs against him. Akinori Otsuka worked
the ninth for his 14th save in 16 chances.

The Padres had seven hits and two walks before finally scoring
on Vinny Castilla's sacrifice fly in the fourth, and Josh Barfield
followed with an RBI double. Giles had a run-scoring single in the
seventh.

"We had them on the ropes in every inning but we couldn't cash
in," Bochy said. "We need one big hit to break it open."

After shortstop Khalil Greene made a nifty play on a grounder
with two on to end the fourth, Hensley couldn't get out of trouble
the next inning.

"You try to stay away from big innings," Showalter said.
"That's what John did, and their guy didn't do."

Hensley, 0-3 in his last four starts, allowed five runs and six
hits over 4 1/3 innings. He struck out three and walked three.

Game notes
The Padres had 14 hits, pushing their total to 46 in four
games. ... Texas is 20-21 at home and 19-13 on the road. ...
Matthews finished 2-for-4 and is hitting .422 (38-for-90) over the
past 20 games. ... Texas had two doubles, and leads the majors with
177. The Rangers have at least two doubles in 18 of the last 20
games.