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Updated: Sunday, June 29, 2003 7:46 PM EDT
MLB RECAP
Texas Rangers
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
8 8 0
Houston Astros
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
5 5 0
W Garcia (1-0)
L Dotel (6-3)
S Urbina (21)
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TEXAS 8, HOUSTON 5
 

HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Not that he needed it, but Alex Rodriguez received a bit of good fortune against the Houston Astros .

In the eighth inning of a tie game, Craig Biggio slipped on a ball hit by Rodriguez to center field, allowing two runs to score as the Texas Rangers beat the Astros, 8-5.

Although Houston lost for the fourth time in five games, it already had clinched the "Silver Boot" handed to the winner of the intrastate series by winning four of the teams' first five matchups.

With the game tied, 3-3, in the top of the eighth, the Rangers' Michael Young rapped a one-out single against Octvaio Dotel (6-3), who walked Hank Blalock . Rodriguez followed with a shot to center, but Biggio stumbled as he took his first step to his left, and the ball bounced to the wall, allowing both runners to score.

"I don't really know what happened," Biggio said. "I slipped and fell. I would have caught it if I hadn't fallen down. I feel terrible. With the situation of the game being tied and you want to blame it on someone, I'll have to take the heat. It was a frustrating day for all of us. We didn't swing the bats all that well, either."

"I hit it pretty well and it was a running play to center field," Rodriguez said. "I thought I had a chance from the get-go and when it fell it landed about 12 feet away from him. If he makes that catch, it's a pretty good play."

Kevin Mench plated Rodriguez with a two-out infield single to make it 6-3, and Juan Gonzalez added a two-run single against Ricky Stone one frame later.

After Houston closed to 8-5 on a two-run triple by Jeff Bagwell against Francisco Cordero with two outs in the bottom of the frame, Ugueth Urbina came on and promptly struck out Richard Hidalgo to end the contest and notch his 21st save in 25 opportunities.

Rosman Garcia (1-0), who was recalled from Class AAA Oklahoma on May 27, pitched a perfect bottom of the sixth for his first major league victory.

Houston took advantage of wildness by Rangers starter Mario Ramos to jump out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Making his third major league start, Ramos retired the first two batters but loaded the bases on walks to Bagwell and Morgan Ensberg around a double by Hidalgo.

Ramos hit Lance Berkman to force in the first run, then walked Brad Ausmus and Adam Everett to fall behind, 3-0. Ramos allowed a career-high seven walks in a season-low 3 1/3 frames.

"I think (catcher) Todd Greene really did a good job of settling down Mario and then he did good enough to keep us in it," Rangers manager Buck Showalter said.

Texas pulled within 3-2 in the top of the fifth on Mench's two-run homer off Astros starter Ron Villone , who had been perfect through four frames.

Rafael Palmeiro tied the contest when he homered off the right field foul pole against Villone leading off the seventh. It was Palmeiro's 509th career home run, tying him with the Chicago Cubs ' Sammy Sosa for 17th on the all-time list.

"I got in a pretty good groove but I left a couple of pitches up," Villone said. "It was just a couple of mistakes, but they have a really good lineup. You can't make too many mistakes against a lineup like that. I felt pretty good, but obviously I'd like to take us a little deeper in the games and hold their lineup down a little more."

"That was the first time I've seen Ron Villone and he had his good stuff today," Rodriguez said. "He threw the ball well to both sides of the plate and he was getting us with a cutter and a sinker. He threw his changeup for strikes too, and he was aggressive for the most part. It was good for us not to get behind too much."


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