Series: Game 2 of 3

Texas leads 2-0 (as of 5/22)

Game 1: Friday, May 21
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Game 2: Saturday, May 22
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Game 3: Sunday, May 23
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Yankees 3

(24-18, 11-11 away)

Rangers 4

(25-17, 16-8 home)

    4:05 PM ET, May 22, 2004

    Globe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, Texas 

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    W: C. Almanzar (4-0)

    L: T. Gordon (1-2)

    Rangers have won first two of series

    ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Rod Barajas homered with one out in the ninth inning, capping a late comeback that gave the Texas Rangers a 4-3 victory over the New York Yankees on Saturday.

    Barajas, who became the full-time starter Friday when rookie Gerald Laird tore a ligament in his left thumb, smacked an 0-1 breaking ball from Tom Gordon (1-2) high into the left-field seats for his fourth homer of the season. The Rangers came streaming out of their dugout and surrounded the plate, giving him an October-like greeting once he scored.

    Emotions have been high in Arlington all weekend, partly because of the Yankees but mostly because of the return of Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts and made an error that helped start Texas' tying rally in the eighth.

    Carlos Almanzar (4-0) pitched a perfect ninth for the win. Starter Ryan Drese retired his first 14 batters, then fell behind by allowing homers to Bernie Williams and Tony Clark on consecutive pitches. Drese tied a career high by going eight innings.

    Yankees starter Jose Contreras looked good in his return from the minors, overcoming a shaky first inning to give up only one run -- a solo homer by Alfonso Soriano -- and three hits in six innings. Contreras struck out a season-best seven and left with a 3-1 lead.

    The Rangers' rally began with a single by Hank Blalock, then Soriano hit a chopper that Rodriguez charged but failed to field cleanly at third. He recovered with a strong throw that might have beaten Soriano, but he was called safe.

    Brad Fullmer followed with a grounder to Gordon that could've been a double play, but his throw to second base bounced through the legs of shortstop Derek Jeter and rolled into center field for another error. Blalock scored on the play.

    Mark Teixeira tied it with a bloop single to left, then David Dellucci hit another comebacker that Gordon nearly flubbed again -- but Jeter made a good catch to get the force at second.

    A-Rod, who homered in his first at-bat back in Texas on Friday night, had a chance to come through by leading off the ninth but he flied out to center.

    The homers by Williams and Clark were a good sign for the Yankees. Those hitters will be relied on more than usual the next two weeks because Jason Giambi went on the disabled list Saturday with a sprained ankle. Clark becomes the regular first baseman and Williams is likely to get more at-bats, too.

    An even better sign, though, was Contreras' strong performance.

    He was demoted May 4 after the shortest outing of his career. The Yankees mostly wanted him to work on his mechanics and his confidence. After one week in Tampa, Fla., and two starts at Triple-A Columbus, he was given another chance in the big league rotation.

    He seemed on the verge of blowing it in the first inning, giving up Soriano's long homer, walking Fullmer and hitting Teixeira with a pitch, all with two outs. But the Rangers never got another runner past second base against Contreras.

    Game notes

    Rodriguez has reached base in 31 straight games, topping Barry Bonds for the longest streak in the majors this season. A-Rod's career-best run in 37 in a row. ... Kenny Lofton was doubled off first base after going too far toward second on a flyout to right field. ... Soriano and Jeff Nelson, Texas players who were on the Yankees last season, received their 2003 AL championship rings from New York manager Joe Torre before the game. ... The Yankees called up OF Bubba Crosby to replace Giambi.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press