The Orioles took the series opener 3-2 Monday, posting their first five-game win streak since May 2001. Baltimore, which kicked off the run with a four-game sweep of the defending World Series champion Anaheim Angels, hasn’t won six in a row since June 10-16, 2000.
Orioles starters have compiled a 2.44 ERA during the win streak.
Pat Hentgen took a four-hitter into the seventh inning Monday, and B.J. Surhoff hit a solo homer for Baltimore. Jay Gibbons and Jeff Conine added an RBI apiece, and Luis Matos, the reigning AL player of the week after batting .600 since the All-Star break, went 1-for-4.
“We’ve been able to win games with our gloves, our pitching and timely hitting,” Orioles manager Mike Hargrove. “You need all those things during the course of a 162-game season.”
Rodrigo Lopez, who began Baltimore’s win streak with a 2-1 victory over the Angels on Thursday, will start Tuesday’s game.
Lopez, a 15-game winner last season when he was the runner-up for AL Rookie of the Year, is 2-1 with a 1.57 ERA in July after closing June with a 7.63 ERA. The right-hander also had to overcome a strained muscle near his rib cage after going on the disabled list May 3.
“I am just trying to forget all the bad things that happened in the first half,” he said.
Lopez will oppose Texas right-hander John Thomson, who is 3-0 with a 2.87 ERA over his last four starts, including a 12-6 victory at Tampa Bay on Thursday. He allowed three earned runs and seven hits over 7 2-3 innings. Thomson also matched his season high with nine strikeouts.
“John has been locked in for a while,” Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. “He’s really locked into a mode.”
Thomson hasn’t been able to beat the Orioles since moving to the NL this season. He is 0-2 with a 6.92 ERA in two career starts against them.
STANDINGS: Rangers - 4th place, 19 1/2 GB, AL West. Orioles - 4th place, 14 1/2 GB, AL East.
RANGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Thomson (7-9, 5.31 ERA). A win Tuesday would match Thomson’s career high of four consecutive victories, established from Aug. 19-Oct. 7, 2001. He is unbeaten since June 20 against Houston.
ORIOLES PROBABLE STARTER: Lopez (3-5, 5.23 ERA). Lopez allowed an earned run and five hits over seven innings against the Angels on Thursday. In two career starts against Texas, he is 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Rangers - Michael Young, .323 avg. and 8 SBs; Juan Gonzalez, 24 HRs and 70 RBIs; Alex Rodriguez, 62 runs. Orioles - Melvin Mora, .343 avg. and 58 runs; Tony Batista, 18 HRs; Jeff Conine and Batista, 67 RBIs; Jerry Hairston and Brian Roberts, 14 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Orioles, 6-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Rangers - OF Gonzalez was not in the lineup Monday after receiving treatment on a strained calf muscle. … The Rangers purchased the contract of RHP Robert Ellis and recalled LHP Erasmo Ramirez from Triple-A Oklahoma of the Pacific Coast League. Ellis is expected to start Friday against Seattle. … 2B Young, who drove in a run Monday, is batting .367 (11-for-30) during a six-game hitting streak with seven RBIs. Orioles - Baltimore was 3-6 against Texas last season, and hadn’t won the season series since 1998 when it went 6-5. … RHP Lopez has surrendered just one homer over his last four starts, spanning 28 2-3 innings. … The Orioles purchased the contract of C Robert Machado from Triple-A Ottawa on Monday. Baltimore sent C Geronimo Gil to Ottawa on Sunday.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Rangers - 17-31 on the road; Orioles - 26-24 at home.
INJURIES: Rangers - OF Kevin Mench (wrist), 15-day DL; RHP Chan Ho Park (oblique), 15-day DL; RHP Ricardo Rodriguez (hip), 15-day DL; RHP Jeff Zimmerman (elbow), 60-day DL; INF Herbert Perry (shoulder), 60-day DL; OF Rusty Greer (neck), 60-day DL. Orioles - OF Mora (cheek); day-to-day; OF Larry Bigbie (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Omar Daal (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Willis Roberts (elbow), 15-day DL; LHP Erik Bedard (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Scott Erickson (shoulder), 60-day DL; 2B Hairston (foot), 60-day DL; OF Albert Belle (hip), 60-day DL; OF Marty Cordova (elbow), 60-day DL.