Wilkerson Hits Three Homeruns To Lift Rangers Past Angels

Wednesday, July 4th 2007, 9:17 am
By: News On 6

Brad Wilkerson's power surge helped the Texas Rangers keep up their winning form.

Wilkerson had three homers and six RBIs, both career highs, to help the Rangers beat the Los Angeles Angels 8-3 on Tuesday night.

Wilkerson had a three-run shot in the fourth, connected with the bases empty in the sixth, and added a two-run homer in the seventh for his 13th of the season to become the first AL player with a three-homer game this season.

``It's one of those nights,'' Wilkerson said after the Rangers won for the ninth time in 13 games. ``You don't plan on doing it. I was hitting pretty much everything. I'm having a lot of fun. You don't expect to do that. I got pitches I could drive. I just got them in the air to right field.''

Wilkerson also had a three-run homer on Monday night against Boston, a three-run shot against Detroit last week, and has 15 RBIs in his past seven games.

``He's been saving us with RBIs and clutch hits,'' Rangers manager Ron Washington said. ``He's a professional hitter.''

Alfonso Soriano of the Chicago Cubs and Carlos Lee of the Houston Astros have had three-homer games in the NL this year.

In other AL games Tuesday, it was: Boston 4, Tampa Bay 1; Cleveland 5, Detroit 4 in 11 innings; New York 8, Minnesota 0; Kansas City 17, Seattle 3; Chicago 5, Baltimore 1; and Oakland 3, Toronto 1.

Rangers starter Kevin Millwood (5-7) gave up two runs and five hits in eight innings, striking out four with no walks in his longest outing of the season.He was in command from the second through the sixth, retiring 13 in a row before Vladimir Guerrero's leadoff double in the seventh.

``We're finally pitching the way we're capable of,'' Millwood said. ``The first two months we stunk. Right now, everyone is starting to catch their stride.''

Angels starter Ervin Santana (5-9) had a career-high 11 strikeouts in 5 1-3 innings, but left trailing 4-2 after throwing 111 pitches. Santana allowed five runs and seven hits, walking two.

Red Sox 4, Devil Rays 1

Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched eight shutout innings as host Boston handed Tampa Bay its ninth straight loss.

Matsuzaka (10-5) struck out nine while allowing four hits and one walk. Struggling Julio Lugo went 2-for-3, his first hits since June 14, and drove in two runs.

Carlos Pena of the Devil Rays hit his 19th homer in the ninth off Jonathan Papelbon.

Scott Kazmir (5-5) allowed four runs, three earned, and six hits while striking out six in six innings. He walked three _ all in a row, throwing 10 consecutive balls _ to load the bases and help Boston to a three-run second.

Indians 5, Tigers 4, 11 innings

Casey Blake homered in the 11th inning to give visiting Cleveland its sixth straight win.

Blake hit his 12th homer off Jose Capellan (0-1) with two outs in the 11th to give Cleveland the lead. Capellan was making his debut with the Tigers two days after being acquired from Milwaukee in a trade.

Tom Mastny (6-2) got the win and Joe Borowski pitched a perfect 11th for his 25th save.

Athletics 3, Blue Jays 1

Joe Blanton threw a four-hitter for his league-leading third complete game and host Oakland won for the third time in four games.

Mark Kotsay drove in two runs and Jack Cust added an eighth-inning home run for the Athletics.

Jesse Litsch (1-3) gave up seven hits in seven strong innings, but two errors led to two unearned runs.

Blanton (8-4), who is nearly unhittable at home, won his third straight decision as he struck out four and walked one.

Yankees 8, Twins 0

Chien-Ming Wang won his fifth straight decision and Robinson Cano hit a two-run homer for host New York.

Alex Rodriguez played third base for the Yankees one night after leaving the game with a strained left hamstring. He went 0-for-4 with a strikeout and was pulled after the sixth with the Yankees up 8-0.

Cano connected in the fourth off Carlos Silva (6-9), who won his previous two starts.

Wang (8-4) pitched four-hit ball for seven innings to win for the seventh time in eight decisions.Royals 17, Mariners 3

Billy Butler homered, doubled and drove in six runs as Kansas City handed John McLaren his second loss in two games as Seattle's manager.

Butler, who will probably return to the minor leagues when regular DH Mike Sweeney comes off the disabled list, had a three-run homer in the six-run first inning and doubled with the bases loaded in the four-run second.

Ryan Feierabend (1-3) allowed 10 runs in just 1 1-3 innings in his seventh major league start.

Jorge De La Rosa (6-9) won his second straight start, allowing three runs and eight hits in seven innings.

White Sox 5, Orioles 1

Javier Vazquez threw his 21st career complete game and Jim Thome hit a three-run homer for host Chicago, which won for the seventh time in nine games.

It was Vazquez's first complete game since last Sept. 5 at Boston. Vazquez (5-5) allowed four hits, including Kevin Millar's leadoff homer in the second, and struck out seven without a walk.

Daniel Cabrera (6-9) lasted six innings, allowing five runs and six hits.