But when he does, he makes good things happen.
Young was the designated hitter in the leadoff spot Friday night. He reached base in all four plate appearances—with two walks and two singles—stole a base, scored a run and drove in two more in the Rangers’ 6-4 win over the Baltimore Orioles.
“This is something new for me,” said Young, a 37-year-old former All-Star second baseman in his first season with Texas. “I’m just trying to stay prepared as much as possible.”
With their 11th win in 14 games, the Rangers remained two games behind Boston in the AL wild-card race. They also beat the Orioles for the first time in 10 tries.
John Wasdin (2-2) pitched six strong innings in his return from the minors, handing the Orioles their 11th straight loss.
In addition to being the DH in 16 games, Young has started at five defensive positions, making his first career starts at shortstop and third base the past three weeks. He’s hit in five different spots in the order in his 78 games.
“I’m getting on base, just trying to make some things happen,” said Young, who’s hitting a team-best .312. “I’m using my speed. I just try to get the pitcher to work as much as possible.”
Young walked to start the Texas first and stole second, going to third on catcher Robert Machado’s throwing error. He scored on Alfonso Soriano’s sacrifice fly, giving the Rangers the lead without a hit.
“That’s the energy he brings right out of the chute,” manager Buck Showalter said.
Tejada went 3-for-5, with his 25th homer, in Baltimore’s latest loss. The season-long losing streak follows a stretch in which the Orioles won 11 of 13, including a four-game home sweep of Texas.
“We’re running out of things to say,” Brian Roberts said. “But we’re not throwing in the towel. There is too long to go.”
Rafael Palmeiro was 1-for-3 with a walk in his first game against the team with which he wanted to end his career. Last winter, the Rangers declined to offer salary arbitration to the slugger, who hit his 500th homer in Texas last year.
Wasdin was recalled earlier in the day from Triple-A Oklahoma to take the spot of Scott Erickson, who was designated for assignment. He allowed two runs and four hits with four strikeouts in his first start with the Rangers since July 25.
“It’s good to be back. It’s good to win,” Wasdin said. “Hopefully, we’ll carry this thing to the end.”
Francisco Cordero worked the ninth for his 40th save in 42 chances and 20th in a row, breaking his own team record. He retired Tejada on a routine fly with runners at the corners to end it.
Cordero became the first Rangers reliever to reach 40 saves since John Wetteland had 43 in 1999, the last time Texas made the playoffs. Tom Henke also had 40 saves for Texas in 1993, and Wetteland had 42 in 1998.
The Rangers went ahead to stay in the fourth when Soriano scored on rookie Eric Bedard’s wild pitch. Soriano led off with a single before consecutive doubles by Mark Teixeira and Kevin Mench. The second made it 3-1.
Bedard (5-9) gave up six runs, seven hits and four walks in 5 1-3 innings. He threw two wild pitches.
Young appeared to have scored another run in the fifth, but was called out at home by umpire Kerwin Danley. Young tagged from third on Teixeira’s fly to right, and Gibbons made a strong throw. But on the replay it appeared that Young slid across the plate before Machado’s high tag.
When Palmeiro came up for his first at-bat in the second, the crowd responded with a loud but short outburst. He popped out to Teixeira, the first baseman who replaced him, on the second pitch.
With two on in the fourth, Palmeiro had another infield popout. He is 4-for-34 his last 10 games and is hitting a career-low .247 with just 14 homers and 63 RBIs.
Palmeiro spent 10 seasons with the Rangers, two five-year stints separated by his five seasons in Baltimore (1994-98). He is Texas’ career leader in games played (1,573), at-bats (5,830) and runs (958).
Gibbons was 3-for-4, all singles. He had gone just 6-of-42 in his 13 games since coming off the disabled list Aug. 10. … Rangers All-Star shortstop Michael Young is 18-for-88 (.205) his last 22 games after going 0-for-4. … Machado was in for Javy Lopez, who missed his third game in four days with spasms in his lower back.