Now that he's in the other dugout, Alex Rodriguez is bringing out the best in the Texas Rangers.
Fired up by a sellout crowd eager to boo Rodriguez and aided by his eighth-inning error, the host Rangers scored three runs in their last two at-bats yesterday to beat the New York Yankees, 4-3.
Rod Barajas won it with a one-out homer in the ninth inning, prompting an October-like celebration. Teammates and coaches came streaming out of the dugout as the ball sailed into the seats -- and nearly all of them crowded around the plate to greet him.
"It's electric out there right now, a playoff atmosphere," Barajas said. "With the packed houses, it definitely makes it nicer."
The Rangers sold out their home opener, but didn't fill the stadium again until Friday night for Rodriguez's return. With another sellout Sunday, the series will draw nearly 150,000 fans, setting a club record.
In this one, A-Rod went 1 for 4 with a single and two crowd-pleasing strikeouts. With New York leading 3-1 in the eighth, his defense left fans cheering again.
"This one hurts," Rodriguez said.
* RED SOX 5, BLUE JAYS 2: Manny Ramirez hit a mammoth homer for the second consecutive night, helping Boston rally at home.
Making his major league debut, Anastacio Martinez got three outs to win in relief of Pedro Martinez and give the Red Sox their sixth victory in eight games. Keith Foulke worked the ninth for his ninth save of the season and 23rd in a row.
* ATHLETICS 5, ROYALS 4: Jermaine Dye made a clutch catch in the top of the 11th inning and then scored on Bobby Crosby's infield single with two outs in the bottom half to give Oakland a win at home. Eric Chavez tied it with a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth off Jeremy Affeldt, making his first relief appearance of the season after eight starts.
Zack Greinke, 20, nearly beat Barry Zito in his major league debut, throwing 84 pitches and leaving in the fifth inning with a 4-2 lead before Affeldt lost it.
"You want to try and get the kid the win and it doesn't happen," Affeldt said. "It's frustrating."
* DEVIL RAYS 6, INDIANS 3: Jose Cruz Jr. homered and drove in four runs, leading host Tampa Bay to its first three-game winning streak of the season. Cruz is 7 for 11 with two homers and eight RBI in the past three games. He hit a three-run shot in the first and made it 4-3 with an RBI grounder in the sixth.
* TWINS 9, WHITE SOX 1: Brad Radke allowed one run in seven innings and Matthew LeCroy hit a two-run homer to lead Minnesota at home.
Justin Morneau went 3 for 3 with his first homer and first two RBI of the season for the Twins, who lost the previous three games against Chicago by a combined 29-5 margin.
* TIGERS 8, MARINERS 4: Jason Johnson pitched into the ninth inning and Craig Monroe hit a three-run double in a five-run eighth, leading Detroit in Seattle.
The slumping Mariners had things in control after a solid night from Joel Pineiro, who was outstanding for seven innings after a shaky first. But the bullpen had a meltdown in the eighth, when Detroit sent nine batters to the plate.