07/27/2002 11:20 pm ET
A grand birthday for A-Rod, Texas
Rodriguez hits walk-off grand slam
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Alex Rodriguez celebrated his 27th birthday in grand fashion Saturday.
Rodriguez hit two home runs, including a walk off grand slam in the bottom half of the 10th inning off of Billy Koch to lead the Rangers to a 10-6 victory in front of 35,359 fans at the Ballpark in Arlington.
The home run was Rodriguez's first walk-off shot of his career.
"We take the guy for granted sometimes around here, but he is a great, great player," Rangers manager Jerry Narron said. "It was nice to see him come up with runners on base and less than two outs."
Birthday boy Rodriguez leads the Majors with 34 home runs and 88 RBIs. He finished 3-for-6 with five RBIs. He has five two-homer games this season and 24 in his career. The granny was the ninth of his career.
"The irony of this was that all week the talk has been how I have not come up with anybody on base," Rodriguez said. "I was just really trying to calm myself down and not do too much."
This is a great way to celebrate my birthday. This is probably my second best birthday ever."
What ranks first on Rodriguez's list of great birthdays ?
"The best was in 1996. I was 21 and I signed my first pro contract with the Mariners," Rodriguez said. "That was great. This ranks up there."
In the eventful tenth, pinch-hitter Gabe Kapler singled up the middle and moved to second base when Michael Young followed with a sacrifice bunt. Frank Catalanotto singled and Herbert Perry was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out.
Rodriguez hit the game-winner on a 1-0 count.
"In that situation, all I am trying to do is be patient and not get over anxious," he said. "I'm just looking for a good pitch to hit."
Oakland starter Aaron Harang gave up a home run to birthday boy Rodriguez in the first to cut Oakland's lead to 4-1 after the first frame. Harang responded by sitting the Rangers down in order in the second and was on the verge of repeating the scoreless feat in third when he retired the first two batters. But he fell behind 1-0 to the third hitter of the inning, Texas third baseman Herbert Perry, and the momentum shifted quickly soon after.
Perry singled to deep right and the Rangers followed with five consecutive hits and five runs. Carl Everett's three-run home run, his third homer in two days, gave the Rangers a 6-4 lead.
In the first, David Justice hit an RBI-single with two outs off of Texas starter Chan Ho Park to give Oakland an early 1-0 lead. Jermaine Dye followed with a three-run home run, his 10th homer of the season, to extend the A's lead to 4-0.
Park responded with four scoreless innings before getting into trouble in the fifth. Eric Chavez smashed an RBI-single to right field after a 10-pitch battle with Park to cut the Rangers' lead to one run, 6-5. Justice then walked on four pitches to load the bases. The A's threatened to break the game open when Dye stepped into the batter's box, but Park struck out Dye looking to end the inning and the scoring threat.
The Rangers' lead did not last long. Juan Alvarez replaced Park to start the sixth and gave up a home run to Ramon Hernandez with two outs as the A's tied it at six.
"Chan Ho pitched really well after the first inning," Narron said. "I took him out after the fifth inning because he was around 105 pitches."
Chad Bradford relieved Harang for 1 1/3 innings of work before being replaced by Jim Mecir with two outs in the seventh.
Oakland manager Art Howe was ejected without leaving the dugout before the first pitch of the bottom of the eighth inning by umpire Kerwin Danley after the pair exchanged words. It marked Howe's first ejection of the season and the ninth of his career.
The Rangers and the Athletics wrap up the three-game series at The Ballpark on Sunday at 7:05 CT.
Texas Rangers 10, Oakland Athletics 6|
|a-Grounded out for Mabry in the 8th.|
|2B: Justice (9, Park).|
HR: Dye (10, 1st inning off Park, 2 on, 2 out), Hernandez (5, 6th inning off Alvarez, 0 on, 2 out).
RBI: Justice (24), Dye 3 (41), Chavez (63), Hernandez (24).
2-out RBI: Justice, Dye 3, Chavez, Hernandez.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Long, Dye 3, Justice.
Team LOB: 8.
|E: Tejada (15, fielding).|
|a-Grounded into a forceout for Haselman in the 7th. b-Singled for Rivera in the 8th.|
|1-Ran for Lamb in the 8th.|
|2B: Catalanotto (12, Harang), Gonzalez (21, Bradford).|
HR: Rodriguez, A 2 (34, 1st inning off Harang, 0 on, 2 out; 10th inning off Koch, 3 on, 1 out), Everett (9, 3rd inning off Harang, 2 on, 2 out).
RBI: Rodriguez, A 5 (88), Gonzalez (35), Palmeiro (66), Everett 3 (27).
2-out RBI: Rodriguez, A, Gonzalez, Palmeiro, Everett 3.
S: Young 2.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Rodriguez, I 3, Perry.
Team LOB: 10.
|CS: Catalanotto (4, 3rd base by Harang/Hernandez).|
|DP: (Palmeiro-Rodriguez, A).|
|Koch (L, 6-2)
|Alvarez (BS, 2)
|Kolb (W, 1-0)
IBB: Palmeiro (by Bradford).
HBP: Everett (by Mecir), Perry (by Koch), Hernandez (by Park).
Pitches-strikes: Harang 101-57, Bradford 34-20, Mecir 13-9, Koch 33-19, Park 107-72, Alvarez 11-8, Powell 18-7, Rodriguez, R 12-8, Cordero 24-15, Kolb 13-6.
Ground outs-fly outs: Harang 4-5, Bradford 2-3, Mecir 3-1, Koch 2-1, Park 6-4, Alvarez 1-2, Powell 2-1, Rodriguez, R 2-0, Cordero 2-0, Kolb 3-0.
Batters faced: Harang 24, Bradford 8, Mecir 6, Koch 10, Park 24, Alvarez 4, Powell 5, Rodriguez, R 2, Cordero 6, Kolb 3.
Umpires: HP: Kerwin Danley. 1B: Marvin Hudson. 2B: Adam Dowdy. 3B: Dana DeMuth.
Weather: 94 degrees, partly cloudy.
Wind: 15 mph, In from RF.
Jesse Sanchez covers the Texas Rangers for MLB.com. He can
be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.