09/10/2002 00:45 am ET
Rodriguez's historic season rolls on
Shortstop sets HR record in 12-7 rout of Seattle
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Virtually all the hype surrounding his 10-year, $252 million contract has subsided, but Alex Rodriguez continues to make good on the deal.
On Monday against his former Seattle teammates, Rodriguez smashed his Major League-leading 52nd and 53rd home runs of the season in the Rangers' 12-7 victory. He finished 2-for-5 with six RBIs. He also leads the Majors with 131 RBIs.
"Whether it means more because it was against Seattle, I don't know, but I doubt it," Rangers manager Jerry Narron said. "I don't know how many times I have to say it, but Alex is the best player in baseball."
The Rangers hit three home runs in the victory and now have homered in 27 consecutive games, two more than the previous Major League record.
Rodriguez broke his own record for home runs in a season by a shortstop in the win and has 15 home runs in his last 23 games. Monday marked his 10th multi-home run game of the season, one shy of the Major League record shared by Hank Greenberg (1938) and Sammy Sosa (1998).
"He should be MVP," Seattle manager Lou Piniella said. "The numbers he puts up are unbelievable. His numbers are scary. I know we shouldn't slight some others, but with [what] A-Rod has done ... he's done a lot."
Rodriguez is among the league leaders in total bases, runs, slugging and extra-base hits. He boasts 294 career home runs, already the second-most career home runs by a shortstop -- only Cal Ripken has more. He has 105 home runs in 305 games with the Rangers.
"I have never been one to play for personal accolades and that's probably the reason that I have had success," Rodriguez said. "It's pretty exciting and very emotional to get 52 and 53. It's very humbling to be in that position."
The Rangers needed help from A-Rod on Monday because they were not getting any help from their starter Aaron Myette.
Myette gave up home runs to the first two batters of the game, Ichiro Suzuki and Desi Relaford, and singles to Ruben Sierra and Carlos Guillen to start the second. Sierra and Guillen each scored on sacrifice flies and the Mariners jumped out to a 4-0 lead.
Myette, who is scheduled to pitch on Saturday in Anaheim, could have knocked himself out of the rotation. Narron stopped short of guaranteeing the young right-hander another start. Myette has pitched a total of 8 2/3 innings in his last four starts.
"He threw better, but he has to have better command of his pitches if he wants to get Major League hitters out," Narron said. "We all know he has the ability, but we are going to have to talk about it and see where we are."
Texas answered with three runs in the bottom half of the second -- two on a single by Hank Blalock off Seattle starter Jamie Moyer -- to cut the Mariners' lead to one run, 4-3.
But Seattle led off the third frame with a single by Relaford and the third baseman came around to score on a double by John Olerud to give the Mariners a two-run cushion.
Myette was replaced by Dennys Reyes to start to fourth after tossing only 59 pitches.
Moyer's outing didn't last much longer. The Seattle lefty yielded to Doug Creek after throwing a scoreless fourth and giving up a two-run double to Carl Everett to tie the game at 5 with two outs in the fifth.
Rodriguez's first homer came off Seattle reliever Jeff Nelson with Ruben Rivera on third base and Mike Lamb on first. His second homer came in the eighth inning off rookie Aaron Taylor to give the Rangers an 11-7. Rafael Palmeiro followed with a solo home run, his 40th of the season. The homers by Rodriguez and Palmeiro marked the first time two teammates have hit 50 and 40 home runs, respectively, in two seasons.
As for Reyes (4-3), he pitched three scoreless innings before giving the ball to Danny Kolb to start the seventh to earn the victory. Kolb gave up a two-run home run to John Olerud to cut the Rangers' lead to 8-7.
"Dennys Reyes really gave us a chance to win tonight," Narron said. "To come in with three scoreless innings was huge."
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.