ARLINGTON, Texas -- Ruben Sierra is still coming up with clutch hits for the Texas Rangers nearly a decade after he was the team's best player.
Sierra hit an RBI single with two outs in the 10th inning Saturday night as the Rangers snapped a three-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins.
"I was just trying to get a pitch in the strike zone," Sierra said. "The right fielder and center fielder were playing far away from each other. So when the ball was in the air, I knew they had to make a great catch on it."
Sierra drove the ball into the right-centerfield gap where Torii Hunter made a futile diving attempt to catch the ball. Alex Rodriguez, who reached on a one-out single off LaTroy Hawkins (1-1) before walks to Rafael Palmeiro and Ken Caminiti, scored the game-winning run.
The 35-year-old Sierra, who first played for the Rangers from 1986-92, had been out of the majors since 1998 when he rejoined the Rangers last September. He had re-signed with Texas in May 2000.
"Since he came back last year, he has had a great attitude, worked extremely hard and tried to encourage other players," Rangers manager Jerry Narron said. "He got a big hit."
Sierra began this season back at Triple-A Oklahoma, but was recalled May 3 as a backup after two Texas outfielders went on the disabled list. He was making just his fifth start Saturday, as the designated hitter.
"I'm feeling good and just want to help," he said. "The team believes in me and that feels good."
Jeff Zimmerman (2-3) pitched the final 1 2-3 innings, including a perfect 10th, to get the victory. He allowed one hit and struck out two.
Minnesota missed a chance to improve to 36-17 for the first time ever, and to go 19 games over .500 for the first time since Aug. 11, 1992.
Minnesota starter Brad Radke was denied his eighth victory for the third time. He pitched seven innings and left with the game tied at 2, having allowed five hits with one strikeout and an uncharacteristic three walks.
Brian Buchanan's solo homer off Kenny Rogers in the second gave Minnesota a 2-1 lead. The two-out homer came after Matt Lawton reached on an error and scored on Corey Koskie's sacrifice fly.
Texas tied the game in the fifth without a hit after Radke, who hadn't allowed a walk in 25 innings, walked Frank Catalanotto and Sierra to start the inning. Scott Sheldon then had a sacrifice bunt and No. 9 hitter Michael Young hit a sacrifice fly to center.
"That's why I don't like to walk batters, because they usually score," Radke said. "Especially two batters to start the inning."
The first Rangers run came when Ivan Rodriguez hit a solo homer in the first inning for the second straight night.
Rogers pitched six innings, allowing seven hits and two unearned runs, before leaving because of back spasms that had bothered him since the second. The Texas starter, 2-0 his last five starts, struck out four and walked two.
Rogers came out to warm up for the seventh, but after he threw several pitches, Narron came out with a team trainer and the decision was made to pull Rogers. The Rangers said the situation wasn't serious.
Juan Moreno replaced Rogers and threw 2 1-3 perfect innings with four strikeouts before Zimmerman took over.
Texas left six runners on from the sixth through ninth innings. Sheldon was stranded after a one-out double in the ninth when third baseman Koskie caught Rusty Greer's popout while falling over the rolled-up tarp near the stands.
The Twins, meanwhile, had only two base runners the final six innings after loading the bases without scoring against Rogers in both the third and fourth innings.
"We're in the game with a chance to win, that's all that counts," Minnesota manager Tom Kelly said. "Second half of the game, obviously we didn't score too good."
Hunter lined out to short and Lawton grounded into a double play after the bases were loaded with no outs in the third. Denny Hocking flew out to left to end the fourth.
Before the game, Rangers owner Tom Hicks said Narron, who took over last month after Johnny Oates' resignation, will be given a two-year contract extension through the 2003 season.
The Rangers are 9-17 under Narron, who had no previous managerial experience.
Notes: Before the two walks in the fifth, Radke had walked just five batters in his first 37 1-3 innings this season. He hadn't walked more than one batter in 14 straight starts, dating back to last Sept. 17. ... Rogers has a 2.91 career ERA (42 earned runs in 129 2-3 innings) vs. the Twins. ... Rangers leadoff hitter Rusty Greer, previously a .414 career hitter (12-for-29) vs. Radke, was 0-for-4 against the Twins starter.
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