The rookie right-hander held baseball's most prolific offense
scoreless until the seventh inning, leading Texas to a 6-2 victory
over the New York Yankees on Sunday. "He showed us what we can be excited about for the future,''
Rangers superstar Alex Rodriguez said. "He has a lot of potential.
If he keeps doing this we'll be very happy. He threw the ball well
and asserted himself early.'' Rodriguez drove in his major league-leading 113th run, Michael
Young had two RBI and Herbert Perry homered for the last-place
Rangers, who won for the seventh time in 10 games. Texas improved to 7-6 against the Yankees the past two seasons
after winning just 13 of the previous 55 meetings -- including nine
straight losses in the playoffs. After getting pounded by the White Sox, Benoit has given the
pitching-challenged Rangers two straight quality starts against two
of the top teams in baseball. He has allowed four runs in 12 2/3
innings the past two starts at Boston and New York. "I just like the improvement we've seen,'' manager Jerry Narron
said. "We all knew that he had a good arm but we wanted to see
improved concentration. He's had good back-to-back outings in two
places that a lot of guys get nervous pitching in.''
Benoit (3-2) looked sharp against the Yankees, who lead the
majors in runs scored and home runs. He allowed two runs and seven
hits in 6 2/3 innings. "It feels good doing this against two of the top teams in this
league,'' Benoit said. "It's a relief. It makes me much more
comfortable.'' Benoit shut the Yankees down earlier this season as well,
allowing one run in 4 2/3 innings of relief on July 29. "He had a little element of surprise, but he's got a good young
arm,'' Yankees slugger Jason Giambi said. "He pounded the strike
zone.'' Benoit didn't permit a runner to reach third base until Alfonso
Soriano's RBI double with one out in the seventh. Derek Jeter followed with an RBI groundout that cut Texas' lead
to 6-2 and end Benoit's outing. Rich Rodriguez came on and retired
Giambi on a flyout with a man on third to end the inning. "It was a very important out,'' Rodriguez said. "These fans
feed off rallies. When you can take a New York crowd out of the
game it's a big accomplishment.'' The Rangers, who entered the game with a major league-worst 5.18
ERA, have held the Yankees to seven runs in winning two of the
first three games in the series. "We're struggling right now offensively,'' Yankees manager Joe
Torre said. "We're probably not up there with as much confidence
as we normally have.'' Texas broke out to an early lead against Andy Pettitte (8-5),
scoring twice in the first inning and once in the second. Pettitte
allowed six runs -- five earned -- and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings to
end a four-game winning streak. Bernie Williams had one hit for the Yankees, extending his
hitting streak to a season-high 16 games. Kevin Mench led off the game for Texas by hitting a hard
grounder that third baseman Robin Ventura booted for an error.
Young and Rodriguez followed with singles to give Texas a 1-0 lead.
Rafael Palmeiro added a sacrifice fly in the inning. Young hit an RBI single in the second and Perry hit his 17th
homer of the year leading off the fourth to make it 4-0. Pettitte left with runners on first and second and one out in
the sixth and Ramiro Mendoza came in and allowed an RBI single to
Mench and a run-scoring double by Young. "I was good in the bullpen,'' Pettitte said. "You just get out
there and aren't able to make the adjustment. That's frustrating
because usually I can do that.''
Palmeiro singled in the fifth for his 2,600th career hit.
... The Rangers have homered in 12 straight games, giving them 179
on the season -- 10 behind the Yankees, who lead the majors. ...
Pettitte has allowed just five homers in 17 starts this season. ...
The Yankees need to win Monday to avoid losing their second series
since June 28. They are 11-1-4 in that span, losing two of three to
Oakland earlier this month.