The Baltimore Orioles have a nasty habit of limping to the finish line.
The Orioles will try to avoid their season-high 13th straight loss when they conclude their three-game series with the Texas Rangers.
Miguel Tejada hit a two-run homer and increased his major league-leading RBI total to 118 but the Orioles lost 4-3 Saturday. Their 12-game slide is the third longest in franchise history and longest since they lost the final 12 of the 2002 season.
Baltimore lost 14 of its last 20 last season to finish 71-91.
“It’s amazing that this has happened at the same point every season and the ship seems to sink,” infielder Brian Roberts said. “Obviously we have plenty of time to right our way. You have to just see it happen, but this team is much different than the last few years.”
The Orioles added Tejada, Rafael Palmeiro and Javy Lopez in the offseason with the hope of becoming legitimate playoff contenders this season. Following a disappointing first half, they bounced back to win 11 of 13, including eight in a row, from Aug. 3-15 to move within two games of .500. Since then, they have known nothing but losing.
Palmeiro, stuck in a 4-for-35 slump, did not start Saturday against his former team. The veteran first baseman, hitting a career low .247, flied out as a pinch hitter in the ninth to end the game.
Lopez, the designated hitter after missing three of four games with lower back spasms, went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.
After finishing this series, the Orioles will play 20 of their final 34 games against two division leaders—the New York Yankees and Minnesota—and wild-card leader Boston.
“I don’t think any of us has quit,” Roberts said. “I don’t think it’s from a lack of effort or not believing in ourselves. We’ve played some decent teams throughout the stretch. When you play teams in the top of the division you can’t make mistakes.”
Rod Barajas homered and drove in the winning run for the Rangers, who have won 12 of their last 15 to remain two games behind the Red Sox in the race for the wild card.
Frank Francisco allowed one hit in 1 1-3 innings of relief for the win, giving Texas’ bullpen its major league-leading 27th victory.