Series: Game 2 of 3

Texas leads 2-0 (as of 7/9)

Game 1: Tuesday, July 8
Game 2: Wednesday, July 9
Game 3: Thursday, July 10

Twins 1

(44-45, 22-22 away)

Rangers 4

(37-52, 22-24 home)

    8:05 PM ET, July 9, 2003

    Globe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, Texas 

    123456789 R H E
    MIN 000001000 1 5 0
    TEX 01000210 - 4 7 1

    W: J. Benoit (4-4)

    L: K. Rogers (7-5)

    S: U. Urbina (26)

    Twins have now lost 11 of their last 16 games

    ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- The Texas Rangers have been waiting for Joaquin Benoit to secure a spot in their rotation. He took a step in that direction Wednesday night.

    Benoit pitched seven strong innings and Alex Rodriguez hit a tiebreaking two-run homer as the Rangers beat the Minnesota Twins 4-1.

    "It's one of my best games," Benoit said. "With good pitches came good results. The team won and that's the main thing. It's one step toward seeing what happens the rest of the way. I can't ask for more. It's a step forward."

    Benoit (4-4) allowed a homer to Torii Hunter in the sixth, but otherwise shut down the Twins, who've lost four straight and 11 of their last 16.

    Benoit was 1-3 with a 7.13 ERA in his previous five starts, but he gave up one run and four hits in his most effective start of the season. Benoit struck out five and walked three.

    "This is the way we all know he's capable of pitching," Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. "Hopefully this will go a ways toward establishing what he's capable of. There's always going to be competition. People are going to have opportunities between now and the end of the season to establish themselves as we make plans. He certainly did that tonight."

    Ugueth Urbina got three outs for his 26th save in 30 chances.

    Urbina -- who earned his 200th career save -- and fellow relievers Brian Shouse and Francisco Cordero allowed one hit over the final two innings. Texas' bullpen has given up four runs in 31 innings over the last nine games.

    "That's remarkable," Showalter said. "Those are the three toughest outs in baseball. It's a tough job to do and a lot of tight situations to close out."

    Rookie Mark Teixeira also homered for the Rangers, who've won three in a row and 10 of 15.

    Rodriguez snapped a 1-all tie in the sixth with his 22nd home run off former Rangers' pitcher Kenny Rogers after Donnie Sadler drew a leadoff walk.

    Rodriguez had been slumping, hitting .259 over a 50-game span to fall from a season-high .336 average. He's been putting in extra time in the batting cage with hitting instructor Rudy Jaramillo.

    "I've been working hard on my swing and it's coming around," Rodriguez said. "I've really been trying to work on my mechanics. I'll be fine."

    Rodriguez is 8-for-16 with three homers and seven RBI all-time against Rogers.

    "I did okay but I'd like to have a couple back," Rogers said. "I messed around and walked Donnie, that cost me, especially ahead of Alex. It came back to haunt."

    Minnesota (44-45) dipped under .500 for the first time since they were 14-15 on May 3.

    "Texas has been struggling and they beat us two in a row so that tells you where we're at," Rogers said. "We've got to play with a little more life and enthusiasm."

    Rogers (7-5) allowed four runs and seven hits over seven innings. He struck out three and walked one.

    "I thought Kenny pitched good enough to win, but he made one bad mistake walking the leadoff man (in the seventh) and you know A-Rod is going to get his homers," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We didn't do much offensively. We try to be patient, try to take pitches. We put good swings on the ball and they go foul. It's not like we're not trying. It's just not working for us right now."

    Rogers, who is third in Rangers history with 101 victories, signed as a free agent with the Twins on March 12. Rogers went 13-8 for Texas last season but wasn't re-signed by the Rangers.

    Rogers retired the first five batters before Teixeira gave Texas a 1-0 lead with his 12th homer, a two-out shot to center field in the second inning.

    Hunter tied it at 1 in the sixth with his 13th homer.

    In the seventh, Michael Young's single drove in Ryan Ludwick from third to extend the Rangers' lead to 4-1.

    Game notes

    The Twins have allowed 23 homers in their last nine games. ...Rogers is 36-22 at The Ballpark in Arlington, giving him the most losses in the history of the stadium. ... Seven of Rodriguez's last 10 hits have gone for extra bases. ... Minnesota is 1-7 in July.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press