ARLINGTON, Texas -- Joaquin Benoit has had easier saves, but despite a precarious ninth inning, he was pleased to nail down the first major league win for teammate Luis Mendoza.
Mendoza (1-0) gave up one run, struck out two and walked one in his second big-league start since he was called up from Double-A Frisco on Sept. 5.
Mike Wood and C.J. Wilson pitched three innings of scoreless relief for Texas before turning it over to Benoit, who loaded the bases with nobody out before recovering for his sixth save in 12 chances.
Miguel Tejada walked to lead off the ninth, and after a single by Kevin Millar and a walk to Melvin Mora, Scott Moore hit a sacrifice fly to center that made it 3-2. Benoit then struck out Paul Bako and catcher Gerald Laird threw out Mora trying to steal second to end it.
"It gave (Mendoza) his first win, so it was good to shut it down," Benoit said. "We got the job done."
Mendoza was admittedly nervous watching the ninth from the dugout. "I'm at the beginning of my career, so I don't know what to expect," he said. "I'm just so happy right now."
Orioles manager Dave Trembley gave Mora the steal sign to stay out of a potential double play, but the strategy backfired when Bako swung through a full-count change-up.
"You've got to make contact and we didn't," Trembley said. "We were playing to win it in the ninth on the road."
Said Mora: "Bases loaded, nobody out, I thought we were going to win it there in the ninth. It was close at second. But that's how we have to play, to be aggressive."
Tejada homered for the Orioles, who've lost four of five.
Victor Santos (0-2) gave up three runs and five hits over five innings in his third start since the Orioles purchased his contract from the Cincinnati Reds on Sept. 7. Control was a problem for Santos, who walked five and hit a batter.
Tejada's 18th homer leading off the second gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead.
"I tried to go away, but he got it," Mendoza said. "I just wanted to be consistent and keep focused and stay down in the zone. I did that."
Baltimore threatened to score later in the inning when Moore singled and Gustavo Molina doubled, but Moore was thrown out trying to score from first on a perfect relay throw from second baseman Ian Kinsler to Laird.
The Rangers took a 2-1 lead in the second on Jarrod Saltalamacchia's two-run single.
Santos walked two and hit a batter in the second, and he also took a Ramon Vazquez's line drive off his left ankle before throwing out Vazquez at first. Santos remained in the game and eventually got Laird to ground out with the bases loaded to end the threat.
Cruz's eighth homer leading off the fourth made it 3-1. The Rangers went on to load the bases on a single and two walks, but Michael Young lined into an inning-ending double play.
- The Rangers lead the season series 5-3.
- Texas had lost eight of its previous nine.
- Baltimore has been outscored 240-130 in the last 30 games.
- Saltalamacchia had a double error in the sixth, booting a ground ball and then throwing wildly to first, allowing Moore to take second.
- Rangers manager Ron Washington was asked about the possibility of bringing Barry Bonds to Texas next season. The San Francisco Giants announced on Friday that they would not bring Bonds back next season. "My guess is hell be in Oakland," Washington said.