By the third inning, the pressure was on Rick Helling.
Trying to protect a two-run lead last night and snap the Texas Rangers' seven-game skid at Yankee Stadium, he had the heart of New York's order coming up following Scott Brosius's leadoff double.
First, he threw a called third strike past Derek Jeter. Next he threw one by Paul O'Neill. And then he fanned Bernie Williams on a check swing.
"It can get out of hand real fast," Helling said after Texas's 3-0 win. "You have a hit here, a hit there. The crowd gets in the game. The players start picking up on the emotion. I don't think I was sharper than I was right there."
Helling, backed by Lee Stevens's two-run homer, pitched seven shutout innings, helping Texas end an overall four-game losing streak -- its longest since last July 24-28.
"It was a night we need a well-pitched ballgame, and Rick Helling certainly gave it to us," Rangers Manager Johnny Oates said. "There's no doubt in my mind if we had to win one game, Rick Helling would get the start."
Helling (6-6) allowed four hits, dropping his earned run average to 4.18, its lowest since Opening Day. Helling has given up just four earned runs in his last 25 2/3 innings over four starts, lowering his earned run average from a season-high 5.37.
Texas beat New York for the second time in eight meetings this season, including five at Yankee Stadium. It was the Rangers' first shutout in New York since Kevin Brown's 9-0 win on April 17 1993.
BLUE JAYS 3, ANGELS 2: Tony Fernandez raised his average to .404 and singled to set up Darrin Fletcher's go-ahead single in the eighth inning, leading Toronto at home.
Fernandez, playing his 2,000th game, went 2 for 4. He leads the majors in hitting.
When it was announced he was playing his milestone game in the sixth inning, Fernandez received a standing ovation. He tipped his helmet. "I wish they would have announced that earlier so I could have gotten it out of the way," he said. "But it was nice to get recognition. That means I've been around a long time."
RED SOX 5, TWINS 1: Mike Stanley had two RBI doubles -- giving him 200 doubles for his career -- and rookie Brian Rose ran his record to 4-0 as host Boston won its third straight.
In Tuesday night's 4-2 Red Sox win, Stanley snapped an 0-for-27 slump with a sixth-inning single, his first hit since June 2. He followed with a seventh-inning double for his 1,000th career hit. "They're not Hall of Fame milestones by any stretch of the imagination," Stanley said, "but they're Hall of Fame in my mind."
MARINERS 7, TIGERS 1: Jamie Moyer won his seventh straight decision to match a career high, pitching Seattle to victory in Detroit.
Moyer (8-4) struck out nine in eight innings. He walked none and gave up seven hits. Moyer, who also won seven in a row in 1996, has one no-decision during his streak.
INDIANS 9, ATHLETICS 8: Kenny Lofton hit a two-out, tying single off pitcher Billy Taylor's glove, stole second and scored on Omar Vizquel's single as host Cleveland rallied in the ninth inning. The Indians scored four runs in the eighth to make it 8-7, then recorded their 24th come-from-behind victory of the season.
WHITE SOX 3, DEVIL RAYS 2: Reliever Norm Charlton walked in the winning run in the 11th inning as Chicago won at home. Tampa Bay's Jose Canseco hit his 26th home run, most in the majors. Chicago's Frank Thomas went 0 for 4, snapping his hitting streak at a career-high 21 games, and Manager Jerry Manuel was ejected in the eighth inning after Ray Durham was called out trying to steal second.
"I think maybe that corn was bothering him a little," Manuel said, referring to a corn on Thomas's foot. "It looked like he was dancing or something."