Rangers 7, Marlins 6

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MIAMI (AP)—The Texas Rangers didn’t have one key play against the Florida Marlins. They had several.

Eric Young drove in three runs, Kevin Mench hit a two-run homer and the Rangers held on to beat the Marlins 7-6 Saturday night.

Gary Matthews Jr. and closer Francisco Cordero also played big roles in the victory.

Matthews, starting in center field for the first time this season, made a running catch in the sixth inning that prevented two runs from scoring. Cordero struck out two with runners on first and second to end the eighth, then pitched a perfect ninth for his 20th save in 21 chances.

“I’d like to give a save to both of them,” Rangers manager Buck Showalter said.

The Rangers led 5-0 and 7-3 before Florida’s late rally.

Miguel Cabrera had a two-run triple in the fourth that made it 5-2 and added an RBI single in the eighth that almost cleared the wall in left.

His fly ball in the eighth bounced off Young’s glove, hit the top of the wall and ricocheted back into play. That cut the lead to 7-6 and left runners on first and second with no outs.

Brian Shouse then struck out pinch-hitter Damion Easley, and Cordero struck out Jeff Conine and Alex Gonzalez to end the inning.

“It was good to get out of that spot without allowing any more damage,” said Cordero, who rebounded from his first blown save of the year.

Young and Mench gave the Ranger an early lead.

Young had a two-run double in the second and an RBI single in the fifth. Mench, back in the lineup after sitting out three games, homered in the third to make it 5-0. It was his sixth of the season and first since May 20.

The Rangers also got help from the Marlins. Florida committed three errors, including one by Gonzalez in the second that led to three unearned runs.

Matthews reached base on Gonzalez’s one-out throwing error and later scored on Young’s double. Michael Young followed with a single that made it 3-0.

Texas added to the sloppy game with two blunders on the same play in the seventh, helping Florida score twice to cut the lead to 7-5.

Gonzalez doubled to left-center and might have been out at second, but Alfonso Soriano missed the relay throw and Conine scored. Catcher Rod Barajas then picked up the loose ball and threw wildly home, allowing Gonzalez to score.

“We had as many opportunities or more than they did,” Marlins manager Jack McKeon said.

The teams combined for five errors that led to five unearned runs.

Dontrelle Willis (6-4) had one of his shortest outings of the season, giving up nine hits and seven runs—four earned—in 4 2-3 innings. Only starts in San Francisco and against Houston were shorter.

Willis was 2-0 with a 1.55 ERA in his previous four starts.

Texas starter Joaquin Benoit allowed two hits and three runs in four innings, but didn’t return after an 87-minute rain delay. He struck out seven and walked one.

Reliever R.A. Dickey (5-6) allowed two hits and struck out two in two scoreless innings.

“You don’t see many games like this,” Texas first baseman Mark Teixeira said. “This was a weird one. But as long as we win, it’s OK, no matter howstrange it is.”

Notes

Conine snapped a 76-game errorless streak when he booted a ball in the first inning. It was his first error since getting traded to Florida late last year. … Florida’s three errors were its most since having four against the Dodgers on May 4. … Mench ended an 0-for-13 skid with a single in the secondinning.

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