Recalled from Class AAA New Orleans before the game to replace injured second baseman
, Matranga came up as a pinch hitter in the fifth inning and homered off Texas starter
to forge a 4-4 tie.
Matranga became the first Astro to homer in his first at-bat since
on July 30, 1975. The feat has been achieved 86 times in major league history.
"You go up and you kind of feel you're in a dream," Matranga said. "I lost my dad in '98 and coming around third base, I was thinking of him. It was all I could do to keep from breaking down. It was pretty special."
One inning later, however, the Rangers regained the lead on an RBI groundout by
In the seventh, Palmeiro hit a prodigious blast over the right-center field fence for a three-run shot. It was his third homer in as many games and 18th this season.
"This is a nice ballpark," said Palmeiro, who is one homer behind Cubs slugger
for 17th place on the all-time list. "It's not easy to come in here and hit these guys."
Benoit (3-3) got the win, allowing four runs and five hits in five innings with a walk and four strikeouts.
The Astros climbed within 8-6 in the bottom of the sevneth on an RBI double by
and a run-scoring single by
. But they lost their fourth straight and fell to 10-6 in interleague play.
"I would describe the game as a lost opportunity," Ensberg said. "We had runners in scoring position enough times to win the game."
left after two innings with a sore shoulder, and the Astros tied a team record by using seven relievers to finish up. Loser
(4-8) gave up one run and one hit in the sixth.
"The Astros got put in a tough spot there," Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. "That had a lot to do with it. It was fortunate for us."
Matranga was not the only player to make his first major league plate appearance. Teammate
came on as a pinch hitter in the seventh and flied out to center.