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DeRosa's third career slam helps Rangers reel in Angels

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Mark DeRosa's versatility has allowed the
Texas Rangers to keep his bat in the lineup on a regular basis and
enhance their chances of dethroning the Los Angeles Angels as AL
West champs.

DeRosa hit his third career grand slam Friday night and the
Rangers took over second place in the AL West from the Angels with
a 7-3 victory. The 31-year-old utilityman, playing in his fourth
full season, is the only player in the majors this season to start
at six different positions. Three players did it last year,
including the Angels' Chone Figgins.

"DeRo is extremely valuable to this team, to have a guy play as
many positions as he does," Rangers center fielder Gary Matthews
said. "He can realistically play anywhere on the field except
catcher and pitcher. And if you give him a little time, he might be
able to add catcher to the list.

"Not only do we need to get his bat into the lineup, but he
gives us the opportunity to still keep certain people in the lineup
because we can plug DeRo in at other positions."

Mark Teixeira, whose 12th-inning home run Thursday night gave
the Rangers a 7-6 victory in the series opener, was walked his
first three times up by John Lackey (10-7). The third one came in
the fifth, preceding a single by Hank Blalock that loaded the bases
with one out. DeRosa then drove a 2-1 pitch into the lower seats in
the left field corner, giving Texas a 7-2 lead.

"We know how good Lackey is and how productive he's been this
year. And to be able to catch him on an off night, it's big for
us," DeRosa said. "I knew he was scuffling with his command a
little bit and his pitch count was up, but he's also capable of
putting you away at any time. I was just looking for something up
that I could lift and put in the outfield. I was able to catch it
clean and I got lucky."

DeRosa's eighth homer matched his career high from last season
and sent Lackey to his second-fastest exit in 23 starts this year.
It was only the third home run off the right-hander in his last 10
starts, and the second grand slam he has allowed in 873 1/3 career
innings. The other was on June 10, by Seattle's Richie Sexson.

"The best thing that happened to us was Mark DeRosa's grand
slam because we were able to separate the score a little bit,"
Blalock said. "I mean, you keep these guys close and they're real
tough in the late innings with their offense and their bullpen --
especially in this ballpark."

Vicente Padilla (11-7) allowed three runs and seven hits over
seven innings, helping send the Angels to their third straight
loss. The right-hander struck out five and walked none. Garret
Anderson homered for Los Angeles.

Padilla is 3-2 with a 3.98 ERA in five starts since he was
arrested for drunken driving on July 7 in Dallas County, and will
continue to pitch for the Rangers until his case is resolved.
According to newspaper reports, general manager Jon Daniels wasn't
aware of the arrest until Monday. Padilla was pulled over by a
Dallas police officer who spotted him running a red light and
driving erratically, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

Padilla, who leads the Rangers in wins, was pitching on six
days' rest after surrendering seven runs and nine hits over 3 2/3
innings in an 11-3 loss to Kansas City on July 28. He was scheduled
to start on Wednesday at Minnesota, but was held back two days
because of the acquisition of Kip Wells from Pittsburgh at the
non-waiver trade deadline.

"He was able to reach back and get a little more fastball
tonight when he needed it," manager Buck Showalter said. "You
can't go out there with full guns all the time. It's tough to do in
the American League because you can't coast with these lineups.
Vinny had a couple extra days' rest, and he kind of showed it
today."

Lackey gave up seven runs, six hits and six walks over 4 1/3
innings in his first start since being named AL pitcher of the
month for July, an honor he earned with a 5-1 record, 2.08 ERA and
30 2/3 inning scoreless streak.

"I didn't really much command anything," Lackey said. "I got
into trouble and needed to make pitches, I wasn't able to do that
all night. They've got a good lineup, so you've got to be careful.
I might have been a little bit too fine early on."

Vladimir Guerrero went 2-for-4 to extend one of baseball's most
peculiar streaks. He has hit safely in all 44 games he has played
against Texas in his career, the longest stretch by any player
against one team since 1957 -- which is as far as Stats Inc. has
been able to research it.

Game notes
Padilla is 4-0 with a 2.36 ERA in four starts this season
when pitching on six days' rest, as opposed to 7-7 with a 4.81 ERA
in his other 19 starts. ... Anaheim's Adam Kennedy was 0-for-2 with
a sacrifice fly, ending his hitting streak at a career-best 17
games. Teammate Howie Kendrick had a double to extend his streak to
14 games.