Kinsler Homers Twice; Pudge Matches Record

Ian Kinsler homered twice and the Texas Rangers beat the Houston Astros 6-1 on Tuesday night, when Ivan Rodriguez matched the major league record for games caught.

Rodriguez, who began his career at age 19 in 1991 and played 12 seasons in Texas, homered for the Astros. It was his 2,226th career game behind the plate to tie Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk.

Kinsler, 4 for 33 with no RBIs 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 slumping left-hander Wandy Rodriguez (5-6).

Kevin Millwood (7-4) worked seven innings despite deflecting two grounders with his throwing hand, allowing one run to win his third straight start. The right-hander is 5-1 with a 2.08 ERA in eight starts at hitter-friendly Rangers Ballpark this season.

David Murphy also homered for the AL West-leading 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.

Ivan Rodriguez got a warm reception from Rangers fans each time he was introduced, and a standing ovation while he led off the fifth with a homer that barely cleared the right-field wall.

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 has already said that 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 htis 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 shortstop Elvis Andrus from turning a double play. Manager Ron Washington and a trainer went to check on Millwood, but he finished the inning.

Wandy Rodriguez lost his fourth consecutive decision over five starts, a stretch which followed 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.

Kinsler, who was 3 for 4, walked in the fourth and scored on Michael 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 AP - Associated Press
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