ARLINGTON, Texas -- Ivan Rodriguez was praised by fans and teammates Wednesday night for becoming the all-time leader in games caught.
However, a lackluster defense left the Houston Astros in no mood to celebrate.David Murphy hit the game-winning RBI single with one out in the 10th inning and the Texas Rangers took advantage of three Houston errors in a 5-4 victory over the Astros.
Bringing It Home
For Pudge Rodriguez, there's no place like home plate. The Astros' catcher passed Carlton Fisk for the most games caught in major league history on Wednesday.
Most Games Caught, MLB History
"We kicked the ball around. We threw it around. That's unacceptable," Astros manager Cecil Cooper said. "I don't care how long you've been playing. We shouldn't be playing like that. We're a much better team.Rodriguez, who began his career at age 19 in 1991 and played 12 seasons in Texas, caught his 2,227th game to break Carlton Fisk's record."I'm tickled for Pudge," Cooper said. "It's great he was able to break the record. But it's unfortunate that it didn't happen on a good night for us."Rodriguez received numerous ovations from the Rangers crowd, but also had his first two-error game since Aug. 26, 2004, and sixth in his career. Both of his miscues led to runs.The veteran catcher downplayed his team's problems in the field."It happens," Rodriguez said. "We tried to do our best. I got a hit, I wasn't 0-fer. So it's not a bad game the way you're saying. I did my job."Houston left fielder Jason Michaels also played Ian Kinsler's routine fly ball into a double in the first inning when he lost it in the sun.Third baseman Jeff Keppinger couldn't handle Kinsler's grounder leading off the 10th. Kinsler stole second and Michael Young singled off Jeff Fulchino (2-2) to put runners on first and third.Hank Blalock was intentionally walked to load the bases and Nelson Cruz popped up to shallow center. Murphy then sliced a single down the left-field line for the game-winner.Murphy, who is from a suburb of Houston, was mobbed at first base by teammates as the Rangers improved to 5-0 against their in-state rival.C.J. Wilson (4-3) pitched two scoreless innings for the Rangers."A walk-off win is the best moment in baseball," Murphy said. "It's a great victory for the entire team."Rodriguez's errant throw in the first trying to nail Kinsler stealing third sailed 15 feet over Keppinger's head.Omar Vizquel tied Luis Aparicio's for most hits by a player from Venezuela with his 2,677th, a one-out single in the fifth. He then stole second and advanced to third on Rodriguez's second error, and scored on Kinsler's sacrifice fly that gave the Rangers a 4-3 lead.Matt Harrison, activated from the disabled list before the game, gave up three runs and six hits in five innings for Texas.Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Cruz homered for the Rangers, who lead the AL West by two games over the Los Angeles Angels."This gives us momentum going into the next game," Murphy said.Astros starter Russ Ortiz allowed four runs and seven hits in his longest outing of the season.Houston's Hunter Pence had four hits and homered in the eighth to tie the game at 4, and Carlos Lee homered in the fourth.The Rangers recognized Rodriguez's accomplishments with a video tribute that started by showing Fisk, Bob Boone and Gary Carter, the only catchers other than Rodriguez to catch more than 2,000 games. Then it showed Rodriguez as a youngster with Ryan, throwing out at a runner and his introduction during the 1995 All-Star game at Rangers Ballpark."The video tribute was unbelievable," Rodriguez said. "That's what makes it so special for me, to do it in the place where I started and where I played so many years."
Rangers manager Ron Washington said he expects RHP Frank Francisco will only need one minor-league rehab stint before Francisco is ready to be activated from the 15-day DL. Francisco has been out since June 14 with right shoulder tendinitis. ... Ortiz's scoring innings streak ended at 17 2/3.