Homer-happy Teixeira sparks Rangers
Utilityman DeRosa adds long ball to continue hot play
ARLINGTON -- When you stand 6-foot-3, weigh 225 pounds and are in the race for the American League home run and RBI titles along with a Gold Glove, nobody is surprised when a dozen reporters want to talk to the biggest Mark in the clubhouse after a win.
But when your last name is DeRosa, not Teixeira, it opens a few eyes.
"DeRo getting some love," Rangers outfielder Kevin Mench screeched, as a moderate crowd of media gathered around DeRosa following Sunday's 7-4 victory against Oakland. The extra attention to the utility player prompted more than a few playful wisecracks and snickers from his teammates, but DeRosa's play of late has been no laughing matter.
"I see [DeRosa] every day," Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. "He doesn't miss an early batting practice session and he doesn't miss taking balls at six positions. He's a great teammate and a guy who has played on some real good clubs. He knows what they look like."
In the series finale against Oakland, DeRosa finished 2-for-3 with a solo home run to establish a career-high seven in that category. He is hitting .417 with four doubles and three home runs in his last 11 games, raising his batting average from .197 to .265.
DeRosa's start in right field Sunday was his 14th at the position. He's also made starts at second base, third base, shortstop and designated hitter.
"It's been nice to become serviceable in the outfield and I think I have helped myself out a lot in that area," DeRosa said. "Getting those at-bats has been huge. I'm still striving to get an everyday job. When I was a little kid, my dream was to make it to the big leagues, but it wasn't to be a utility player."
The other Mark had a typical day. Teixeira finished 1-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs to up his season total to an AL-leading 125. The homer, his third in as many games, gave him a career-high 39.
"After the season, it is something you can look at and be proud of," Teixeira said. "But you can never pat yourself on the back during the season. Then you get complacent, stop working and let yourself slide."
"I've always said home runs come in bunches," Teixeira continued. "You can go two weeks without one or hit four in a week. Sometimes, you just feel that stroke for a week or two weeks straight, and right now I feel it."
Rangers starter Kenny Rogers was solid. The veteran allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings for the victory, his 13th of the season. Oakland starter Joe Kennedy was tagged for eight hits and six runs in 5 1/3 innings for the loss.
"They have seen Kenny so much," Showalter said. "He made some adjustments and they made adjustments. They hit some good pitches."
Trailing, 2-1, in the fifth, Michael Young drove home DeRosa with a single to tie the game. Teixeira, hitting from the right side, followed with a three-run home run to cap off the four-run frame and give the Rangers a 5-2 lead.
"He's been some type of player for us this year," Showalter said. "[Teixeira] is such a disciplined guy. He has such hunger for being there for his team and he has high expectations of himself. He's never satisfied. It's very important for him to be as good as he is capable of being."
Oakland tacked on one run in the sixth, but the Rangers answered in the bottom of the frame with a double by Rod Barajas that scored Mench. Alfonso Soriano hit his 33rd home run of the season in the seventh inning to account for the final score.
DeRosa's home run in the third inning gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead.
"It's a tough job DeRo has got," Showalter said. "He started taking some balls in the outfield a long time ago and he's got a lot more opportunities lately. Look at his numbers against left-handed pitching, and he's done a good job in right field."
Scott Hatteberg and Dan Johnson scored on a double by Oakland shortstop Marco Scutaro to give the visitors a temporary 2-1 lead in the fifth. Rangers reliever John Wasdin allowed three hits and one run in three innings after Rogers departed.
"I'm going to do the best that I can no matter where I am at," Wasdin said. "Of course, I would like to pitch at the Major League level. I think this year, I really want to prove that although I am 33, I have not lost the ability to be successful at the Major League level."
Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.