Baltimore (65-87) at Texas (70-83)

Cloudy Currently: Arlington, TX
Temp: 54° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Fri Sep 21, 2007
Preview | Box Score | Recap

With a little more than a week left in the season, avoiding last place in their respective divisions is the main motivation for the Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers.

The Orioles try to win consecutive road games for the first time in over a month Friday night when they continue a three-game series at Rangers Ballpark.

Playoffs spots and even .500 seasons are no longer concerns for the Orioles (65-87) and Rangers (70-83), two of the American League’s worst teams.

Baltimore is fourth in the East, 2 1/2 games ahead of Tampa Bay. The Orioles, headed for their franchise-record 10th straight losing season, haven’t finished last since 1988.

Texas, meanwhile, occupies last place in the West, 3 1/2 games behind Oakland. The Rangers haven’t ended a season at the bottom of the division since 2003.

Although the teams rank near the bottom of the league in ERA, Thursday’s series opener featured strong pitching through eight innings with Texas holding a 1-0 lead.

The Orioles, however, pushed across the tying run in the ninth and scored five times in the 10th on their way to a 6-3 victory.

Pinch-hitter Miguel Tejada tied it with an RBI single, and Brian Roberts’ three-run homer capped the five-run 10th.

Baltimore, which snapped a three-game skid, had scored only one run in its last 26 innings before the ninth inning Thursday.

The teams were meeting for the first time since Aug. 22 when the Rangers scored an American League record 39 runs in a doubleheader sweep, winning the opener 30-3.

“That seems like three years ago really,” Roberts said. “When you’ve been through what we’ve been through for the last month, that seems like forever ago. … It wasn’t hard to put that behind us.”

Michael Young had a pair of hits for the Rangers, losers of four straight and nine of 10.

The loss was Texas’s first in 63 games when leading after eight innings.

Young has 192 hits, leaving him with nine games to reach 200 for the fifth straight season.

Victor Santos (0-1, 11.57 ERA) makes his third start for the Orioles. Acquired from Cincinnati on Sept. 7, the well-traveled right-hander allowed four runs on seven hits in 4 1-3 innings Saturday at Toronto in Baltimore’s 8-6, 12-inning victory.

Santos, who appeared in eight games for Texas in 2003, has given up 13 runs and 19 hits in his last three appearances, spanning 9 2-3 innings.

He has no record and a 1.35 ERA in three career relief appearances against his former team.

Luis Mendoza (0-0, 2.08) makes his second major league start for the Rangers. The rookie right-hander pitched two scoreless two innings in his first start Sept. 8 against Oakland before leaving with a bruised left knee after being struck with a line drive.

“I figured I’d get another chance,” Mendoza said on the Rangers’ official Web site. “I’ll be less nervous and have more of a comfort level. I’m going to stay with my plan, throw sinkers and change speeds. I try to attack the hitters, get first-pitch strikes. I don’t want to be behind in the count.”

Mendoza has made two relief appearances since his major league debut, giving up one run and three hits in 2 1-3 innings.

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Starting Pitchers

V. Santos SF vs. L. Mendoza KC
1-6 Record 1-0
5.83 ERA 2.25
48 K 7
33 BB 4
1.64 WHIP 1.06

Scoreboard

Friday, Sep 21