ARLINGTON, Texas -- At first, Johnny Damon couldn't find the ball. Then he recovered and made a spectacular catch.
''I just said 'Great catch, thank you,' " Yankees starting pitcher Shawn Chacon said.
Damon's running catch with his glove fully extended ended the first inning, the first of two times in New York's 6-1 victory over Texas last night that the center fielder made impressive plays for third outs to leave two Rangers standed.
''That helped us all. You never know the way that game goes," manager Joe Torre said. ''That's why Johnny Damon is out there, to do the things he does, whether it's on the bases, at bat, in the field."
Damon also started New York's game-turning outburst in the sixth by leading off with an infield single.
Alex Rodriguez hit a three-run homer and Jason Giambi had a solo shot for the Yankees. Torre got his 999th victory in 11 seasons with the team and will join Joe McCarthy (1,460), Casey Stengel (1,149), and Miller Huggins (1,067) with 1,000 managerial victories with the Yankees.
Chacon (4-1) pitched 6 1/3 innings to win his fourth straight start. He allowed only one run for the third straight game, and had six strikeouts and four walks.
With the game tied 1-1, Damon led off the sixth with a high chopper. Mark Teixeira fielded the ball behind first base in foul territory, then scooped it to Kameron Loe (1-3), who stepped on the bag almost simultaneously with Damon. Umpire Chad Fairchild called Damon safe, though at least one television replay appeared to show Loe's foot hitting the base first.
The Rangers then had a pitchout called, but Damon still stole second -- and got third as well -- when nobody covered the bag for catcher Rod Barajas's throw.
Derek Jeter had an RBI single on the next pitch and Giambi walked before Rodriguez homered to give New York a 5-1 lead.
Bubba Crosby, in the lineup after Gary Sheffield was scratched because of his sore left wrist, added an RBI single.