Cordero Implodes In Loss

Francisco Cordero gave up four runs in the ninth inning, the final run on Michael Young's RBI single, as the Texas Rangers stole a 4-3 victory Saturday night.

Cordero blew his first save of the season after converting his first 22.

The Brewers lost for the third straight time and the 19th time in 29 games.

Craig Counsell broke a scoreless tie in the fifth inning with a double, and starter Ben Sheets and Derrick Turnbow made it stand up through eight innings.

Geoff Jenkins drove in another run in the ninth inning with a sacrifice fly, and Tony Graffanino added a big RBI single, his second hit of the night.

Those two runs became huge when Cordero allowed two two-out runs in the ninth - just the second and third runs against him this season - on an RBI single by Gerald Laird and an RBI infield single by Kenny Lofton.

Cordero then allowed a tying single to Marlon Byrd and Young's winner.

The blown save wasted a strong outing by Sheets, who threw seven shutout innings. Sheets has now thrown 18 straight scoreless innings.

Sheets entered the night needing 10 strikeouts for 1,000 in his career and got his first of the night by fanning Young for the third out of a 1-2-3 first inning.

Sheets got two more in the second inning and they came at just the right time.

After Sammy Sosa singled and Frank Catalanotto walked, Ian Kinsler's check-swing roller to first moved both runners up.

Sheets then got both Brad Wilkerson and Ramon Vazquez looking at curveballs for third strikes to keep the Rangers off the board.

The right-hander got within six of the milestone by striking out Laird to lead off the third. He allowed a one-out single to Lofton and a two-out single to Young but got Sosa on a fielder's choice to get out of the inning.

Sheets got three straight grounders to second baseman Graffanino in the fourth, but his four scoreless innings were matched by Texas starter Brandon McCarthy, who entered with a 6.35 earned run average.

Through four innings the Brewers had just two base-runners. Corey Hart hit a one-out double in the second but was left at second, and Tony Gwynn Jr. singled with two outs in the third.

The Brewers' two veteran infielders changed that in the fifth. Graffanino, in the lineup at second base, doubled with one out and Counsell, in at shortstop to give J.J. Hardy a night off, doubled him in with a shot down the right-field line to give the Brewers a 1-0 lead.

Sheets got strikeouts Nos. 5 and 995 against Vazquez leading off the fifth. Laird put a scare into the Brewers with a fly to deep left, but with the wind blowing in it died at the warning track, where Jenkins caught it in front of the wall. Lofton then grounded out to give Sheets five shutout innings and an economical pitch count of 69.

Sheets flirted with a little trouble in the sixth by walking Byrd to lead off but came back to get Young on a liner to center and Sosa on a called third strike for his sixth strikeout of the night. After Catalanotto grounded a single through the left side, Sheets got Kinsler on a fielder's choice grounder to short.

Counsell appeared certain to give the Brewers an insurance run in the top of the eighth. Damian Miller led off with a single and was on the go on a 3-2 pitch. Counsell lashed a drive to deep right toward the corner, but rightfielder Marlon Byrd made a diving catch. Miller was already halfway to third, and when he heard the roar of the crowd he knew he was as good as out. He stood helplessly on the base at third and watched Byrd's throw double him off.

With the Texas heat having taken its toll, Sheets was done after seven innings and Turnbow entered to start the eighth.

Turnbow quickly dispatched Byrd on strikes, Young on a liner to center and Sosa on strikes. Sosa even got the benefit of four strikes, as first base umpire C.B. Bucknor clearly missed the call on what was ruled a checked swing.


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