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Updated: Thursday, May 22, 2003 7:21 PM EDT
MLB RECAP
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
8 11 0
Texas Rangers
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
10 13 0
W Van Poppel (1-0)
L Harper (0-3)
S Urbina (15)
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TEXAS 10, TAMPA BAY 8
 

ARLINGTON, Texas (Ticker) -- The Texas Rangers are doing their best to make manager Buck Showalter's 47th birthday an enjoyable one.

Alex Rodriguez snapped a seventh-inning tie with his 13th home run as the Rangers outslugged the Tampa Bay Devils, 10-8, to stretch their season-high winning streak to six games.

Einar Diaz and Hank Blalock also homered for Texas, which completed its second straight three-game sweep and climbed within two games of .500.

"We're winning games late," Rangers first baseman Rafael Palmeiro said. "We didn't do that last year. Now we are."

There was some bad news for Showalter, who strained a calf muscle while running on to the field to argue a play. But he was able to laugh it off on the eve of his birthday.

"I popped it coming out of the dugout," Showalter said. "I've done it before."

Travis Harper (0-3) retired the Rangers in order in the fifth and sixth, but his first pitch of the seventh was a hanging curveball to Rodriguez, who drilled it over the right-center field fence.

After the Rangers squandered an 8-3 lead, Todd Van Poppel (1-0) tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings to record his first victory since September 3.

"Hopefully, we can keep it going," Van Poppel said. "I think everybody's done their part instead of waiting for one or two people to step up."

Ugueth Urbina struck out two in a perfect ninth for his league-leading 15th save.

"Everything's going well, everything's coming through for me," Urbina said. "I'm healthy, that's the big part."

"I thought we were good out of the bullpen again today," Showalter added. "Van Poppel was good and Ugueth has been a rock for us in what I think is the most difficult inning to pitch in baseball."

The Rangers erased a 3-1 deficit with seven runs in the fourth off starter Seth McClung and Nick Bierbrodt . McClung gave up a two-run single to rookie Mark Teixeira and a two-run homer to Diaz before Blalock belted a three-run shot off Bierbrodt to make it 8-3.

"I didn't throw the ball where I wanted to, and they hit it," McClung said. "Their main guys were not the guys that got me, it was their smaller guys."

Rangers rookie Colby Lewis could not stand the prosperity, giving up a leadoff homer to Aubrey Huff in the fifth as the first four batters in the inning reached safely.

The Devil Rays quickly tied it as Brian Shouse replaced Lewis and surrendered a three-run double to Marlon Anderson and an RBI single Carl Crawford .

Huff, who leads the league in extra-base hits, slugged his ninth homer in May, tying Fred McGriff 's team record.

The Rangers tacked on an insurance run in the seventh when Teixeira grounded into a double play.

"Comebacks are a good thing, but we fall behind too many (darn) times," Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella said."

Tampa Bay has lost three straight and was swept in its second straight series with the Rangers. Last season, Texas swept a three-game set against the Devil Rays from June 2-4.


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