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Benoit gets 7-inning save against O’s

SHARE Benoit gets 7-inning save against O’s

Joaquin Benoit came away from a near no-hitter with a unique consolation prize — the first seven-inning save in the major leagues.

The leadoff triple he allowed to Jerry Hairston in the ninth inning Tuesday night was Baltimore's first hit of the night off three Texas pitchers in the Rangers' 7-1 win.

Benoit came on in the third inning after Todd Van Poppel pitched the first two in relief of Aaron Myette — who threw two pitches.

But both of them went behind Melvin Mora in apparent retaliation for Alex Rodriguez being hit by a pitch in the top of the first. Plate umpire Mark Hirschbeck promptly ejected Myette.

After Van Poppel's two innings, Benoit held the Orioles down until Hairston's triple bounced over a sliding Carl Everett.

"It would have been a very unusual no-hitter," Rangers manager Jerry Narron said. "I'm not sure a lot of guys knew there was a no-hitter until about the eighth inning."

Herbert Perry, who kept the no-hitter alive in the sixth when he threw out Mora from deep behind the bag at third, homered in the sixth and Michael Young hit two triples and scored twice.

Perry's homer gave the hard-hitting Rangers 21 straight games with a long ball, tying a club record set this season. But the last-place Rangers have been plagued by a pitching staff that entered the game with a 5.22 ERA, worst in the majors.

Orioles rookie John Stephens hit Alex Rodriguez with an 84 mph fastball in the first inning.

"I don't know exactly what came down from the league office, but there was supposedly a heads-up, supposedly there was bad blood over our last series with these guys," Narron said. "I don't remember any."

After he was tossed, Myette looked at the umpire in disbelief.

"There's not much to talk about. I threw two pitches, and that was it for my outing," Myette said. "I pitch inside a lot, balls get away. I've never had perfect control."

Until Hairston's hit, Myette could have had a place in baseball history. Instead, Benoit will go into the record books. The previous record for longest outing resulting in a save was six, by Horatio Pina of the Rangers in 1972. Saves were first kept as a stat in 1969.

But the shared no-hitter might have been better.

"I really didn't think about it," Benoit said. "If it's going to happen, it's going to happen."

YANKEES 4, RED SOX 2: Roger Clemens struck out 10 in his 292nd career victory as New York strengthened its grip on the AL East by beating Boston at Yankee Stadium. Clemens (12-5) struck out the first four batters and made three first-inning runs stand up against his former team.

The Yankees ended a three-game losing streak and increased their lead in the division to 7 1/2 games over Boston with one game remaining against their rival. The Red Sox fell 5 1/2 games behind Anaheim in the wild-card race.

Derek Jeter homered off Frank Castillo (5-13) and a rare error by second baseman Rey Sanchez helped the Yankees score two more runs in the first.

TIGERS 4, INDIANS 0: Rookie Andy Van Hekken pitched a shutout in his major league debut, allowing eight hits to lead Detroit past Cleveland. Van Hekken, a native of Holland, Mich., struck out one and walked two as he pitched in front of more than 100 family and friends in Detroit. The 23-year-old lefty was called up Monday.

He is the first American League pitcher to make his debut with a shutout since Oakland's Mike Norris in 1975.

Terry Mulholland (2-1) allowed three earned runs on 11 hits in seven-plus innings, striking out five in his first start since Oct. 2. He was acquired from Los Angeles in a July 28 trade.

ANGELS 10, DEVIL RAYS 2: Jarrod Washburn became Anaheim's first 16-game winner in nine years and Orlando Palmeiro drove in a career-high four runs. Washburn (16-5) gave up two runs and six hits in five innings. The last time an Anaheim pitcher won 16 games in a season was in 1993 by Mark Langston and Chuck Finley.

Jorge Sosa (1-7) allowed seven runs and seven hits in five-plus innings in St. Petersburg. The Devil Rays were trying match their longest winning streak of the season at four games.

WHITE SOX 5, BLUE JAYS 4: Jose Valentin's second homer of the game broke a tie in the seventh inning at SkyDome as Chicago won a season-high seventh straight. This is the team's longest winning streak since June 2000, when Chicago won eight in a row. Valentin also broke a 2-all tie in the fifth off Esteban Loaiza (7-8) and gave Chicago the lead for good in the seventh off Loaiza with his 21st homer. Both were solo shots. Paul Konerko also homered for the White Sox.

Jon Rauch (1-1) pitched two innings for his first major league win. Rauch gave up a two-run homer to Josh Phelps in the sixth that made it 4-4.