ARLINGTON, TEX., JULY 25 -- Nolan Ryan's road to victory No. 300 will have to go through Milwaukee. But Ryan, the Texas Rangers' 43-year-old right-handed pitcher, managed to avoid taking the unwanted baggage of career loss No. 268 with a lot of late help from his teammates.

Ryan (10-4) was taken out after eight innings with the Rangers trailing the New York Yankees by 7-4. He was saved from the loss when Pete Incaviglia tied the game, 7-7, with a two-run home run with two outs in the ninth. The Rangers won in the 11th, 9-7, on Rafael Palmeiro's two-run homer.

Ryan's next opportunity to become only the 20th major league pitcher to reach 300 career victories will likely come Monday in Milwaukee.

"I was disappointed I wasn't the winning pitcher with the amount of support I got from the team," he said. "Anytime they score three, four runs, I feel like I should win. As a matter of fact, I pitched them out of the game and it took a special effort to come back.

"They could have had an emotional letdown. I think this was the most pumped up I've seen them for a game. They were trying their hardest to win it for me."

Optimism was running high that he would reach 300 against the struggling Yankees, who had lost their last two to the Rangers and their last 10 games here. He had won his last five games.

Of the last nine pitchers to reach 300, five had done it on their first try. Early Wynn took longest: seven games in 1963.

"I don't want to drag this thing out," Ryan said. "I don't want it to be a dark cloud, go two or three starts and struggle along. I'd hoped to get it tonight. Now my attitude is just to get it in the next start."

He had won his two previous starts against the Yankees this season and hadn't lost to them since May 14, 1977. But he never was in complete control after giving up a triple to leadoff hitter Deion Sanders, who soon scored the game's first run.

The Yankees, getting three home runs, led by as many as four. When Manager Bobby Valentine finally brought in Kenny Rogers, Ryan had thrown 141 pitches and trailed by 7-4.

"I think Bobby Valentine gave me every opportunity to get back in the game," Ryan said. "The way the eighth turned {two New York runs}, there was no point keeping me in there."

Still, he is one of the few people in baseball who can turn an otherwise commonplace game into something special. Besides filling the stadium, he attracted so many memorabilia collectors that they bought up programs by the box-load before the game in hopes they would become valuable. Ticket scalpers were getting $100 per ticket.

Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent and American League President Bobby Brown sat with the Rangers' managing partner, George W. Bush, in steamy, 91 degree heat. They were among the crowd of 41,954, the stadium's largest of the season. It was Ryan's fourth consecutive sellout here and fifth this season.

All this for the fourth-place Rangers of the American League West, who went over .500 for the first time in 2 1/2 months by winning for the 13th time in 17 games.

At 34-60, the Yankees have the worst record in the major leagues. Tonight they started four rookies, along with their starting pitcher, left-hander Dave LaPoint, who's been with eight teams in the last eight seasons.

Although back spasms still plague him, Ryan had not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his nine starts since returning from the disabled list on June 6.

It was quickly obvious tonight that he would have to reach 300 without his magical stuff. He had his usual velocity -- he was clocked at 95 mph in the first inning and at 93 in the eighth -- and he threw strikes. He simply didn't fool many batters. He's given up seven runs before during his two years with the Rangers; but never more.

He said he'd hoped to go for his 300th here before the homefolk -- "The scenario turned out the way I wanted" -- then he added: "But the game did not. The last thing you want to do in a situation like this is come out and not throw well. And that's pretty much the way it turned out."