09/08/2002 6:10 pm ET
Palmeiro's swing a record-breaker
Rangers have hit homers in record 26 straight games
By Bob Bellone / MLB.com
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Rafael Palmeiro hasn't received a lot of ink lately, but the future Hall of Famer was busy rewriting baseball history Sunday.
With one mighty stroke of his bat in the sixth inning of a 6-3 loss to the Devil Rays, Palmeiro made sure the Rangers would enter the Major League record books for homering in 26 consecutive games as a team.
"I wasn't even thinking about it. I was just trying to get on base, trying to do something good to get myself straightened out a little bit," said Palmeiro, who had just two hits in 20 previous plate appearances.
Alex Rodriguez later connected for the Rangers, who began the day sharing the all-time mark with the 1941 Yankees, 1994 Tigers and 1998 Braves.
"I guess it's nice," manager Jerry Narron said. "Our team is 16-10 in that time, so we'll take that. But for me, I'd take pitching records over those home run records anytime. You're better off in the long run."
Palmeiro reached two other career milestones Sunday. His 372-foot solo blast lifted him past Tris Speaker into 28th place on the career RBI list with 1,563. He also joined Andre Dawson in 21st place on the all-time list for career extra base hits at 1,039.
"Those are nice," he said. "It just means that I've been doing it for awhile. I've been doing it for a long time."
While Palmeiro was exchanging high fives in the dugout, teammate Joaquin Benoit surrendered five runs on nine hits and five walks before departing in the fifth inning.
Things could have been even worse for Benoit (3-3), who stranded nine Tampa Bay baserunners, five of them in scoring position.
On Aug. 30, Benoit allowed six runs on eight hits in two innings of a 9-7 loss to the Devil Rays at The Ballpark in Arlington. He did not figure in the decision, however.
"They're giving me a hard time right now, but they are hitting good pitches," the right-hander said. "The first time I faced them it wasn't my best outing, but I'm trying to do my best and give all I can."
"He's going to be a good pitcher," said Narron. "He's just not going to go out and be perfect every time."
Bob Bellone is a contributor to MLB.com based in Tampa. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or any of its clubs.