There are times when Dave Fleming just can't believe what is happening to him.

Fleming has gone from total obscurity to relative obscurity since the start of the season. The rookie is 9-1 with a 2.88 ERA for the Seattle Mariners.The left-hander's ninth victory came Tuesday night as he beat Texas 2-1 in Arlington. Fleming's only loss was to the Rangers in his first start of the season.

"It's getting a bit ridiculous," Fleming said after beating the Rangers. "Rafael Palmeiro hit three shots that went for outs. That's how it's been this year and now I'm at 9-1."

That's 9-1 for a struggling team. Of Seattle's 23 victories, the Mariners have won 10 times in Fleming's 12 starts. The rest of the staff is a combined 14-34 heading into a weekend series against Milwaukee.

"He's been amazing this year," manager Bill Plummer said. "He gives up some hits but keeps it close. The thing about him is he gets outs."

Fleming was selected by the Mariners in the third round of the 1990 June draft. He grew up in Mahopac, N.Y., and then went on to play for the University of Georgia, helping the Bulldogs win the College World Series two years ago.

At 22, Fleming is already pitching like a veteran. His fastball doesn't crack 85 mph, so he has to rely on ball movement and control.

"I'm not overpowering," Fleming said. "I'm not going to throw the ball by anybody. I've got to change speeds, use both sides of the plate."

If Fleming continues to be a winner, he will probably be called a crafty left-hander someday. He's definitely in the Bob Ojeda mold.

"His mound presence is one of his outstanding features," Plummer said. "We saw that when he came up last year. He doesn't let anything affect him. I watched him in his first start this year, when he got ripped, and he was the same then as he is now."

The Mariners' record for most wins by a rookie is 17 set by Mark Langston in 1984. The modern record for rookie wins is Grover Alexander's 28 in 1911.

Fleming, however, needs only three consecutive wins to tie the modern record by a rookie of 12 straight set by Hooks Wiltse in 1904 and Atley Donald in 1939.

"I know I've been real fourtunate," Fleming said. "I'm not thinking about numbers. Hopefully at the end of the season, I'll be able to look back on it and see that I had a good season."

After getting rocked by the Rangers in his first start, Fleming was looking forward to the rematch. He gave up one run and seven hits in seven innings.

"A lot of people were waiting for me to lose this one against this team," Fleming said. "As long as I don't walk guys, I can get away with giving up seven hits, especially against this team. They can hit the ball."