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Tuesday, August 3, 1999

Rodriguez, Rangers stay hot with 5-4 win

ARLINGTON, Texas, Aug. 3, 1999 (AP) Texas Rangers manager Johnny Oates left himself open to second-guessers when he gave All-Star catcher Ivan Rodriguez some extra games off earlier in the season.

Oates reasoned that he wanted Rodriguez fresh for the stretch run. Now that rest is paying dividends.

Rodriguez maintained his personal hitting streak, homering twice and driving in four runs, as the Rangers remained unbeaten against the Minnesota Twins with a 5-4 victory Monday night.

"It's been a while since I've seen somebody in as good a groove as he's in," Oates said. "He's not going to be sitting down much from here on out."

Rodriguez expects to see little time off the rest of the way.

"I've told Johnny Oates I don't want to be on the bench," Rodriguez said. "I want to be in there all the time."

He'll get no argument from anyone connected with the Rangers. Rodriguez is 15-for-23 with four homers and 13 RBIs in five games.

"This is the best streak I've ever seen a guy have in a short span," teammate Rafael Palmeiro said. "He's on some kind of hot streak. Everything's coming together for him as a player. Experience and talent are coming into play."

Texas trailed 3-2 in the seventh when Royce Clayton tripled off LaTroy Hawkins and Mark McLemore drew a walk from reliever Eddie Guardado (2-3). Rodriguez followed with his 21st home run into the left-field seats.

On Sunday, Rodriguez was 5-for-6 with four RBIs in the Rangers' 12-5 win over the Royals.

"I feel great right now," Rodriguez said. "I'm healthy and feel stronger. I'm just trying to see the ball, hit the ball and put it in play. I just want to win and help the team into the playoffs."

Guardado took the blame for his high pitch to Rodriguez.

"I take nothing away from Rodriguez or the Rangers," Guardado said. "The ball was high and he did what you're supposed to do."

Rodriguez hit a solo shot in the third to give Texas a 1-0 lead and join Lance Parrish and Carlton Fisk as the only American League catchers with 20 or more homers in at least three straight seasons.

Minnesota has lost all eight meetings with the Rangers this season.

Rangers reliever Jeff Zimmerman (9-0) had his string of scoreless appearances end at a club-record 26, but still managed to pick up the victory.

The victory enabled Zimmerman to tie Whitey Ford and Joe Pate for the AL record for consecutive wins at the start of a career. It also matched Pate's mark of consecutive wins by a rookie relief pitcher.

Woods rallies to wim match with Duval

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif., Aug 3, 1999 (AP) Great start, rocky finish.

That made David Duval a loser to Tiger Woods in golf's first appearance on network television in prime time.

Playing not far from where he grew up, Woods overcome a sluggish start and dominated the par-3 holes to beat Duval 2 and 1 in the "Showdown at Sherwood," a made-for-television match-play competition Monday night.

It was nothing more than an exhibition match, but the world's top-ranked golfers were paid very well for their three-plus hours of work.

Woods earned $1.1 million, while Duval collected $400,000. Each will donate $200,000 to charity, including $100,000 each to the PGA Tour-sponsored First Tee program.

If either felt any pressure, it certainly wasn't evident, although neither was at his best.

At a time where the pressure perhaps should have been on, Woods and Duval were giggling like schoolchildren as they chatted while walking down the 15th fairway. Woods led 1-up at the time.

"I approached the match that David and I are good friends, and we were going to come out here and put on a good show," Woods said. "I think it's a wonderful concept."

So is this sort of thing the start of something new?

"I hate to say it, but it's basically up to the ratings," Woods said. "How high the ratings are will determine how successful it was."

Duval won the first two holes with a birdie and a par, but Woods won the next two, and added wins at the sixth and ninth holes for a 2-up lead at the turn.

A win on 12 put Woods ahead 3-up, but when Duval won 13 and 14, it was anyone's match.

The players halved 15 before the match's biggest shot.

Duval hit what he would later call his best shot of the day down the middle on the par-4, 449-yard 16th hole, but the ball took one bounce into a rock formation some 300 yards from the tee.

That meant a one-shot penalty.

Meanwhile, Woods hit two terrific shots to leave him 10 feet from the hole. Duval conceded, giving Woods a 2-up lead with two holes left.

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