The Rangers' Rod Barajas reached base in the ninth inning yesterday in Arlington, Tex., on catcher's interference to load the bases for slumping slugger Hank Blalock, who hit a dribbler on a 1-2 pitch that popped out of the glove of shortstop Jason Bartlett as Phil Nevin crossed the plate with the winning run.

"I got behind in the count and I was in a defensive mode," Blalock said. "I was just trying to put the ball in play and luckily it was soft enough. It doesn't matter what kind of hit -- a squibber, a double -- as long as we get the 'W.' "

The catcher's interference ruling turned out to be a key play, with Barajas's bat barely nicking the glove of Twins C Joe Mauer for an error.

"You'd love to get a hit in that situation, but loading the bases with Hank Blalock at the plate is a good option," Barajas said.

* FOULKE PITCHES AGAIN: Red Sox closer Keith Foulke made his second rehab appearance at Class A Lowell, allowing one run in his only inning of work.

Foulke, who had knee surgery in July, entered the game against the Tri-City ValleyCats of Troy, N.Y., in the seventh inning. Foulke threw 21 pitches, 12 for strikes, and struck out one.

* THE SUZUKI LINE: The Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki was 0 for 3 with a walk, dropping his batting average to .298, his lowest since July 1, when he was hitting .298. . . .

Suzuki, playing right field, threw out the White Sox' Juan Uribe at second, giving batter Timo Perez a rare fielder's choice when his line drive fell in front of Suzuki with Geoff Blum at second and Uribe at first.

* AMERICAN SPORTSMAN: Former Red Sox broadcaster Curt Gowdy spoke to the Fenway Park crowd before the game at a ceremony in his honor. He handled the team's games from 1951 through 1965.

* PLUNKED: The Athletics' Jason Kendall was hit by Baltimore's John Maine's pitch in the fifth, giving him 192 HBPs, tying him with Minnie Minoso for eighth place on the career list

* SURGING DEVIL RAYS: With its first sweep against Los Angeles yesterday, Tampa Bay improved to 27-15 since the all-star break and Manager Lou Piniella, 62, improved to 7-11 on his birthday.

-- From News Services

Hank Blalock, second from right, is greeted by his Texas teammates after his game-winning, 75-foot RBI single.