Rangers 9, Tigers 3

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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—Joaquin Benoit can still pitch a starter’s share of innings, even if now he’s coming out of the bullpen.

Benoit pitched five relief innings after a rain delay, and Todd Greene’s two-run homer keyed a five-run fifth inning as the Texas Rangers beat the Detroit Tigers 9-3 Monday night.

Benoit (7-5) allowed three runs and six hits in just his third relief appearance of the season. He was pulled from the rotation to make room for rookie Juan Dominguez, who makes his major league debut Tuesday night against the Tigers.

“When you’re out of the bullpen, you don’t worry so much,” Benoit said. “As a starter, you think for five days. In relief, you get your work done faster.”

The Rangers are auditioning for spots on next year’s pitching staff, and Benoit’s niche has yet to be determined.

“He came in with a little more sense of urgency,” Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. “As a reliever, you don’t know how long you’ll be out there. There’s more of a sense of finality to it. He was good. We’ll see if it continues and we’ll see where it takes us.”

Texas starter John Thomson had to leave the game in the second inning when a downpour stopped play for nearly two hours. Thomson had won five of his previous six decisions for the Rangers, who’ve won seven of 10 in August as they try to escape the basement in the AL West.

“We finished last the last three years,” Greene said. “When you’re 20 games out, you still have to find things to achieve.”

Steve Sparks (0-5) allowed six runs and eight hits over four innings in relief of Detroit starter Wilfredo Ledezma.

The Rangers loaded the bases with nobody out in the first but managed only one run against Ledezma on Shane Spencer’s sacrifice fly. Ledezma didn’t allow a hit in the inning before the rain ended his outing.

Detroit tied it at 1 in the third on Ramon Santiago’s RBI single.

Alex Rodriguez’s RBI single in the third drove in Michael Young, who had tripled, to give Texas a 2-1 lead.

Texas then broke the game open with its five-run fifth, aided by a double error charged to Detroit center fielder Alex Sanchez.

Rodriguez and Spencer singled, and Rodriguez scored on Mark Teixeira’s single. Sanchez failed to pick up the ball cleanly for one error, allowing Spencer to advance to third, and Spencer scored when Sanchez’s wild throw to third went into the Detroit dugout for another error.

Marcus Thames added a sacrifice fly to make it 5-1, Jason Jones walked, and Greene’s eighth homer capped the rally.

Eric Munson hit his 18th homer in the seventh off Benoit to make it 7-3.

In the eighth, Young’s RBI single and Rodriguez’s run-scoring groundout completed the scoring.

The Tigers, who had two errors, continued their march toward 100 defeats, going 5-19 since the All-Star break.

“When we give teams extra opportunities, it’s tough to win,” Tigersmanager Alan Trammell said. “This year is just difficult.”

Notes

It was 80 degrees at the first pitch, unseasonably cool for an August night in north Texas. … The rain delay was the first for the Rangers at home this season. The grounds crew removed the tarp from the infield about 45 minutes after the rain started, but another downpour began almost immediately and the infield was covered again. … Thomson was lifted after 1 2-3 innings, the shortest outing of his major league career. Thomson’s arm stiffened during the rain delay. He wanted to return but was overruled by Showalter. … Munson and Teixeira lead major league rookies with 18 homers each. … Rodriguez has15 RBIs in his last 11 games.

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