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Benes Leads D'Backs Past Rangers

Facing baseball's top hitting club, Andy Benes had a simple plan: Keep the ball down.

Benes did just that, allowing six hits in eight shutout innings Monday night to lead the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 6-0 win over the Texas Rangers.

Benes (6-7) stayed ahead of the hitters and got a few breaks to help the expansion Diamondbacks get their second shutout.

"With this lineup, there is a small margin for error," said Benes, who allowed just two runners past first. "It's the kind of lineup where if you get the ball up, you're going to pay. They hit some balls sharp, but they just happened to be right at people. I was able to keep the ball down and got a few breaks."

By keeping the ball down, Benes was able to do what no team had been able to do for 91 games - blank Texas.

The Rangers, who entered the game with a major league best .292 average, were shut out for the first time since September 9, 1997, the longest active streak in the majors. Texas was the last team in the majors to be held scoreless this year.

"It had nothing to do with pressure," said Rangers first baseman Will Clark. "It had everything to do with that guy throwing the ball where he wanted to."

It was Benes's second quality outing in a row after two bad ones. Before beating Cincinnati last week, he had allowed 13 runs and 14 hits in his previous 7 1-3 innings. Benes has now allowed one earned run in his last two starts.

"It was an outstanding game by Andy, especially against this lineup," said Diamondbacks manager Buck Showalter. "He had great command of his pitches and only made a few mistakes. This was a big win for us."

Dave Dellucci led the attack on Rangers starter John Burkett (4-8) by going 3-for-4 with two RBIs, a triple and a double.

Burkett allowed five runs and nine hits in 7 1-3 innings.

"At least I'm giving us a chance and giving the bullpen a rest," Burkett said. "It feels good that I'm out there in the seventh and eighth innings. That's more like the way I pitch."

Burkett has gone at least seven innings in his last five games and six of his last eight starts, but he has just one win in the span. Texas has scored only seven runs in Burkett's last five starts.

Arizona got a run in the third on a leadoff triple by Karim Garcia and an RBI double by Kelly Stinnett.

Dellucci made it 2-0 in the sixth with a two-out, run-scoring triple.

The Diamondbacks opened a 6-0 lead in the eighth on a run-scoring double by Devon White, an RBI single by Dellucci and Garcia's two-run single.

Kevin Elster had three of Texas' seven hits.

Notes: Earlier, the Rangers traded right-hander Bobby Witt to St. Louis for a player to be named. Witt, the second winningest pitcher in Texs history, went 5-4 with a 7.66 ERA in 14 games this year. ... Rangers second baseman Mark McLemore was activated before the game after spending 15 days on the disabled list with a pulled hamstring. ... Arizona's Devon White ended an 0-for-16 hitless slump with an RBI double in the eighth. ... The Diamondbacks recalled lefty Efrain Valdez from Tuscon before the game. To make room, left-hander Omar Daal was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained hamstring. ... Texas' Lee Stevens is hitless in his last 17 at-bats after an 0-for-3 night.

©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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