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Pudge ties MLB record behind plate; Kinsler HRs twice in Rangers win

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Ivan Rodriguez rounded the bases to a standing ovation from the Texas Rangers fans, who got to salute one of their former stars and still celebrate a victory.

Rodriguez homered leading off the fifth for the only Houston run in a 6-1 loss to the Rangers on Tuesday night, when the 13-time All-Star catcher matched the major league record for games caught while playing against his original team.

"I'm very pleased. It's an unbelievable record to tie Carlton Fisk. I respect him a lot," said Rodriguez, who got warm receptions each time he was introduced. "It was nice to hear that."

Rodriguez, who began his career at age 19 in 1991 and played 12 seasons in Texas, caught his 2,226th career game to tie Fisk, the Hall of Famer catcher who played for Boston (1969-80) and the Chicago White Sox (1981-93).

Ian Kinsler snapped out of his slump by going 3 for 4 with two homers and Kevin Millwood (7-4) allowed one run over seven innings to win his third straight start for AL West-leading Texas.

  Astros: Pudge ties Fisk for most games caught

Millwood is 5-1 with a 2.08 ERA in eight starts this season at hitter-friendly Rangers Ballpark. His last two victories snapped Texas losing streaks.

"He's definitely spoiling us. That's classic Millwood right there," Michael Young said. "I think Milly senses when we need to get some momentum back on our side."

Kinsler, 4 for 33 with no RBI the previous eight games, put the Rangers ahead to stay with his fourth leadoff homer this season. He added another solo shot in the second off struggling left-hander Wandy Rodriguez (5-6).

Manager Ron Washington never considered taking Kinsler out of the leadoff spot.

"I have confidence in the fact that he's been there before and he'll get out of it," Washington said. "I just hope tonight is the night that got him back going."

Kinsler, an All-Star last year, is leading AL second baseman in the latest voting.

David Murphy also homered for the Rangers, who have won all four games this season against Houston. Texas clinched the season series to keep the Silver Boot Trophy for the third straight year.

The Rangers led 6-0 when Ivan Rodriguez barely cleared the right-field wall with his homer. The fans stood and started screaming as soon as it did.

"They love Pudge," Young said. "Every year since he's left, he's been here. It never gets old. They love him here."

Pudge, a 14-time All-Star who has won 13 Gold Gloves, left Texas in 2002 and won a World Series with Florida the following season. He then spent five years in Detroit and half a season with the Yankees before signing a $1.5 million, one-year deal with the Astros during spring training.

Astros manager Cecil Cooper said Rodriguez will catch Wednesday, which would break the tie with Fisk. Rodriguez was tied with Bob Boone at 2,225 games before Tuesday.

Millwood has allowed only three earned runs over 27 2/3 innings his past four starts.

Houston got a leadoff double from Michael Bourn to start the game before Miguel Tejada walked. Arlington native Hunter Pence then struck out, which became a double play when Bourn was thrown out stealing third.

Except for Rodriguez's homer, only one other runner got past first base after that against Millwood, who struck out six while allowing four hits and three walks.

Millwood ended the third when he knocked down Tejada's comebacker with his bare hand, then scrambled to pick up the ball and throw to first. The pitcher deflected Rodriguez's ball in the seventh, slowing it down and preventing a double play.

Wandy Rodriguez lost his fourth consecutive decision over five starts, after a four-game winning streak. His ERA, which was the best among NL left-handers, jumped from 2.82 to 3.33 after giving up six runs over four innings when he walked five.

"Wandy wasn't real sharp," Cooper said. "Neither was Millwood in the first few innings, but he managed to get it turned around."

Kinsler walked in the fourth and scored on Young's two-run double. Young had a single and scored on Marlon Byrd's hit in the first.

Notes

  • Kinsler's nine career leadoff homers are the most in Rangers history. It was his fifth multihomer game, third this season.
  • Young finished 2 for 4 with a walk, after going 3 for 24 the past six games.
  • 2B Kazuo Matsui, activated from the DL after missing 18 games with a strained left hamstring, went 0 for 3.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Ivan Rodriguez ties a major league record by playing his 2,226th career game behind the plate.  (AP)
Ivan Rodriguez ties a major league record by playing his 2,226th career game behind the plate. (AP)

Players of the Game
Texas

K. Millwood
IP 7.0
H 4
ER 1
BB 3
K 6
Texas

I. Kinsler
AB 4
R 3
H 3
HR 2
RBI 2
 

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Houston Astros
Michael Bourn, CF4020010 .294
Miguel Tejada, SS3020100 .348
Hunter Pence, RF4000024 .317
Carlos Lee, DH3000113 .309
Lance Berkman, 1B2000201 .254
Ivan Rodriguez, C4111002 .247
Kazuo Matsui, 2B3000012 .215
Darin Erstad, LF3000002 .111
Edwin Maysonet, 3B3000010 .315
Totals2915146  
Batting
2B - Michael Bourn (14, Millwood)
HR - Ivan Rodriguez (6, Millwood)
RBI - Ivan Rodriguez (27)
CS - Michael Bourn (5, 3rd base by Millwood/Saltalamacchia)
Team LOB - 5
Houston Astros
Wandy Rodriguez (L,5-6) 4666543 3.33
Alberto Arias 3200030 2.50
Tim Byrdak 1100000 3.42
IBB - Cruz by Wandy Rodriguez
Pitches-Strikes - Wandy Rodriguez 103-55, Alberto Arias 37-26, Tim Byrdak 15-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Wandy Rodriguez 4-4, Alberto Arias 5-1, Tim Byrdak 3-0
Batters Faced - Wandy Rodriguez 23, Alberto Arias 11, Tim Byrdak 4
Texas Rangers
Ian Kinsler, 2B4332100 .268
Michael Young, 3B4122111 .319
Andruw Jones, DH4000003 .248
Nelson Cruz, RF2000200 .276
David Murphy, LF4121024 .259
Marlon Byrd, CF4021011 .292
Chris Davis, 1B4000024 .204
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C3000101 .247
Elvis Andrus, SS4100012 .256
Totals3369657  
Batting
2B - Michael Young (22, Rodriguez)
HR - Ian Kinsler 2 (17, Rodriguez, Rodriguez), David Murphy (3, Rodriguez)
RBI - Ian Kinsler 2 (46), Michael Young 2 (25), David Murphy (13), Marlon Byrd (29)
2-OUT RBI - Ian Kinsler (14), Marlon Byrd (9)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Saltalamacchia-Young, Andrus-Davis, Kinsler-Andrus-Davis
Texas Rangers
Kevin Millwood (W,7-4) 7411361 2.62
Jason Jennings 2100100 3.00
Pitches-Strikes - Kevin Millwood 115-66, Jason Jennings 29-19
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kevin Millwood 6-7, Jason Jennings 3-2
Batters Faced - Kevin Millwood 26, Jason Jennings 7
Game Information
Attendance - 21676
Game Time - 2:37
Temperature - 98
Umpires - Home - Jeff Nelson, First Base - Mark Carlson, Second Base - Tim Tschida, Third Base - Bob Davidson