Orioles 7, Rangers 3
BALTIMORE (AP)—After completing their most successful homestand in 35 years, the Baltimore Orioles headed west trying to extend their longest winning streak in five seasons.
“We’re going to ride the wave,” manager Lee Mazzilli said Monday after Baltimore won its seventh straight, beating the Texas Rangers 7-3 to complete a four-game sweep.
After stumbling through the first four months of the season, the Orioles open a three-game series in Anaheim on Tuesday with designs of making some noise in the AL wild-card race.
“The guys are feeling good about themselves, and they should be,” Mazzilli said. “They feel like they’ve got something going, no question.”
Melvin Mora homered twice and drove in three runs, and Larry Bigbie also connected for the Orioles, who enjoyed their first 7-0 homestand since September 1969. Baltimore, which began the run with three wins over Seattle, is within four games of .500 (53-57) for the first time since June 13.
Before the homestand, the Orioles had the worst home record in the American League. Now they’re 29-29 at Camden Yards after outscoring the Mariners and Rangers by a combined 50-24.
Dave Borkowski (3-2) pitched six innings of four-hit ball, giving the Orioles their longest winning streak since September 1999.
David Dellucci and Alfonso Soriano homered for the Rangers, outscored 30-10 in their first four-game sweep in Baltimore in 13 seasons. Texas, which started the series in first place in the AL West, now stands 2 1/2 games behind first-place Oakland.
“You can’t sit there and sulk about it,” shortstop Michael Young said. “Obviously, it’s something nobody wants or accepts, but you have to find a way to put it behind you and get ready for the next series.”
Texas has lost nine straight to the Orioles since May 29, 2003.
“I haven’t necessarily thought about it, dwelled on it, didn’t know it until you told me,” Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. “Probably won’t think much about it after you’ve told me.”
Mora gave Baltimore the lead for good with a two-run drive in the first inning off Mike Bacsik (1-1), then added a solo shot in the fifth off reliever Joaquin Benoit. He has three home runs in his last two games, and his 20 homers this season are a career high, eclipsing the 19 he hit in 2002.
“I don’t try to hit a home run, but when you go up there and make a good swing, things can happen,” he said.
Mora went 2-for-3 with a walk and has hit in 11 straight games, going 18-for-41 (.439) during that span to lift his batting average to .351.
Dellucci got the Rangers started in the first inning with a solo homer, becoming the ninth Texas player to hit 10 home runs this season, a club record.
Baltimore bounced back with three runs in the bottom half against Bacsik, who blanked Detroit for seven innings Wednesday in his only other appearance this season. After Brian Roberts hit a leadoff double and Mora homered, Miguel Tejada walked and scored on a double by Javy Lopez.
Hank Blalock hit a sacrifice fly to score Dellucci and bring Texas to 3-2 in the third, but the Orioles pulled away with a three-run fifth. Bigbie hit his 12th home run after B.J. Surhoff doubled, and Mora homered on Benoit’s second pitch.
Tejada got his 101st RBI with a groundout in the seventh.
During their winning streak, the Orioles have benefited from solid pitching, timely hitting and exceptional defense. This game was no exception.
Borkowski pitched well, but he received solid play from the fielders behind him. Converted center fielder Jerry Hairston made a diving catch of a sinking liner; Mora made a fine throw on a slow grounder to third; and Roberts saved a run with a diving stop and rapid throw on Rod Barajas’ two-out grounder in the fourth.
“They deserved to win all four games,” Young said. “They outplayed us.”
The Rangers activated RHP Doug Brocail from the 15-day disabled list and optioned RHP Rosman Garcia to Triple-A Oklahoma. … It was only the second time this season the Rangers were swept. The first was in Cincinnati. … Orioles RHP Jason Grimsley made his 11th straight appearance without allowing a run before leaving with a hip injury. He’s day-to-day.