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Park One Win Away from 100th Major League Win

Posted May. 31, 2005 06:47,   


"I had trust in Park`s glittering eyes."

With a 36,265-strong crowd filling Ameriquest Field in Arlington, Texas, Texas Rangers manager Buck Showalter felt frustration after the Rangers finished the fifth inning without scoring, and was undecided as to whether Park should continue pitching.

In fact, Park was not in good form, allowing baserunners in every inning. But the Chicago White Sox did not score until the fourth inning, when catcher A. J. Pierzynski hit a solo homer, and the White Sox used two hits and a walk to score three runs.

It would have been a good time to replace Park, but Showalter trusted him and let him throw two more innings.

The move paid off.

The Rangers exploded in the sixth inning, scoring six runs against White Sox starter John Garland, who has the most wins in the AL this year, to take the lead, 7-3. Park Chan-ho gathered his fifth win of this season, and it was the 99th win in his big league career. Park allowed six hits and three runs, including a homer, four walks and four strikeouts. His ERA was slightly lowered to 4.60.

The win was a lucky one, since Park had already thrown 104 pitches by the sixth inning and was unlikely to have thrown one more inning. The sixth inning was the last chance for him to earn a win.

In the sixth, the Rangers staged an impressive counterattack. David Dellucci and Michael Young combined for back-to-back singles to reach first and third base with no out. Mark Teixeira`s grounder brought in a run. Alfonso Soriano`s single put runners on first and third base again with one out remaining. Then Kevin Mench hit a three-run homer to break the game open. Texas scored two more runs in the inning and went on to beat the White Sox, 12-4.

Park later wrote on his home page, "Kevin Mench gave me a big present. It was thrilling and exciting to see the ball sailing beautifully over the fence."

With the win, Rangers extended their winning streak to eight, the longest in the Major Leagues this season. The team has also won seven consecutive games in which Park has appeared as a starter.

Park will try to earn his sixth win of the season and the 100th win of his big league career against the Kansas City Royals in Kansas City on June 4.

Meanwhile, Choi Hee-seop of the Los Angeles Dodgers did not record a hit in Sunday`s away game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, but earned a RBI with a sacrifice fly in the first inning, recording his 20th RBI of the season and the 98th RBI of his major league career. Koo Dae-sung of the New York Mets allowed a three-run homer against Carlos Delgado of the Florida Marlins in the seventh inning and blew a chance for a save. His ERA went up to 3.95 from 3.29.

Sung-Kyu Kim kimsk@donga.com