Rangers 7, White Sox 3


CHICAGO -- Thursday was Ivan Rodriguez's most memorable day and one of Bobby Thigpen's worst.

Ruben Sierra hit a two-run homer and Julio Franco followed with a solo shot off Thigpen in a five-run ninth inning, lifting the Texas Rangers to a 7-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox.


'He (Thigpen) was the best in baseball last year,' Rangers Manager Bobby Valentine said. 'You've got to bring him in.'

Trailing 3-2 going into the ninth, Rafael Palmeiro drew a walk off Thigpen, 3-2, and Sierra followed with his 11th home run over the right- field wall. It was the 125th of his career, moving him past Pete Incaviglia for second place on the Rangers all-time list.

Franco then hit his eighth home run, this time over the left field fence, and Rodriguez added his first major league hit and RBI with a two-run single off Melido Perez for the final 7-3 margin.


'I wasn't looking for a home run,' Franco said. 'I was looking for a pitch to drive. I know Ruben was looking for one (home run).'

Opponents now have hit 39 homers at the new Comiskey Park, compared to 18 by the White Sox.

Thigpen blew his fifth save opportunity on the year, rendering useless Chicago starter Jack McDowell's eight inning, three hit, eight strikeout performance.

Neither Thigpen nor McDowell were available for comment after the game.

'I could've stayed with Jack but he wasn't popping the ball,' White Sox Manager Jeff Torborg said. 'He's (Thigpen) our man. We'll continue to go with him. You've got to go with your gut.'

If it's any consolation, Thigpen gave up a pair of ninth-inning homers on April 24, 1990, at Texas and took the 5-4 loss. It was the turning point in the season for theright-hander, who finished with a major-league record 57 saves.

Rodriguez was happy just to be here. The 19-year-old was making his first major league start less than 12 hours after getting married in Tulsa to Maribel Rivera. The two were to tie the knot between games of a Double-A double-header Thursday.


'It's been a nice day for him,' Valentine said. 'He just stopped at the town hall on the way to the airport (to get married).'

Rodriguez also showed why the Rangers think he's ready for the big leagues -- he threw out two baserunners in the fifth and seventh innings. He had the ball from his first hit tucked into his locker. A wedding present?

'She (new wife) was shocked,' Rodriguez said about the change in their honeymoon. 'I feel happy. I'm going to stay here. Now I'm going for 1,000 big league hits.'

Mike Jeffcoat, 3-1, went 2 1-3 innings for the win.

'They (losses) are all tough,' Torborg said. 'That one hurt.'

The White Sox had rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the eighth. Dan Pasqua led off with a walk and was replaced by pinch runner Sammy Sosa, who reached second on Warren Newson's single. Both Sosa and Newson advanced on Craig Grebeck's sacrifice, and the bases were loaded after Joey Cora was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game. Lance Johnson then singled to center, scoring Sosa and Newson to tie the game 2-2.

After an out and an intentional walk to Frank Thomas filled the bases again, Texas starter Kevin Brown fell behind 1-0 to Matt Merullo and was replaced by Jeffcoat. Jeffcoat walked Merullo, forcing in Cora with the go-ahead run.


Juan Gonzalez gave Texas a 1-0 lead in the second inning with an RBI single, scoring Franco who singled and advanced on a groundout.

Gonzalez made it 2-0 in the sixth, hitting his eighth home run to straightaway center. Gonzalez entered the game batting .143 in his career against Chicago, with just three hits in 21 at-bats. It was only his second homer in his last 22 games.

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