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

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.