Rangers 4, Orioles 3
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—After homering early, Rod Barajas’ most important at-bat of the night resulted in an out.
Barajas ended an eight-pitch at-bat with a sacrifice fly that drove in the tiebreaking run in the seventh inning, and the Rangers extended the Baltimore Orioles’ season-high losing streak to 12 games with a 4-3 victory Saturday night.
David Dellucci also homered for the Rangers, who have won 12 of their last 15 to remain in the AL West and wild-card races.
Texas started the night second in the majors in extra-base hits and fourth in homers, but the Rangers turned the game in their favor with some grinding at-bats in the seventh.
Barajas fouled off three full-count pitches before lofting a fly ball to left, and Nix scored easily to give the Rangers their first lead.
“(Ryan) made some good pitches when all I could do was fight them off,” Barajas said. “He came after me with fastballs until I was able to get something I was able to handle.”
Nix’s at-bat was also important, fouling off three full-count pitches before drawing the walk.
“B.J.’s been tough all season,” Nix said. “I was just trying to grind out an at-bat. I made him throw some pitches.”
Frank Francisco (5-1) allowed one hit in 1 1-3 innings of relief for the win, giving Texas’ bullpen its major league-best 27th victory. Francisco Cordero got three outs for his 41st save in 43 chances—and 21st in a row.
Miguel Tejada hit a two-run homer for Baltimore and increased his major league-leading RBIs total to 118 but the Orioles lost their second in a row to Texas after winning the previous nine meetings.
The Orioles’ 12-game skid is their longest since losing the final 12 of the 2002 season, the third-longest streak in club history. Baltimore’s longest stretch of consecutive losses was 21 to start the 1988 season.
Rangers starter Kenny Rogers left with the game tied at 3 after allowing three runs and six hits in 6 2-3 innings. He struck out a season-high eight and walked three, remaining two victories short of matching his career high of 17 wins.
“Kenny’s effort was outstanding,” Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. “He kept competing. He’s not the type of guy who’s going to sit there and not compete.”
Baltimore’s Rodrigo Lopez also turned in a strong start, giving up three runs and five hits in six innings. He struck out four and walked one, but the Orioles’ futility continued.
“When guys are down, you have to find a way to contribute within yourself and not put all the weight on your shoulders, which is human nature,” Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli said.
Tejada’s two-run shot in the first—his third against Texas this year— gave the Orioles a 2-0 lead, but Dellucci led off the bottom of the inning with a homer.
Rogers made some in-game adjustments to keep his team close.
“I used curveballs, sinkers, cutters, changed speeds,” Rogers said. “I felt like I had a really good night. To last six innings and keep it close, I’ll take it.”
Texas tied it at 3 in the sixth on Mark Teixeira’s RBI single.
The Rangers are 42-21 in Arlington, their best home record after 63 games in club history. … Ryan allowed one run and one hit in one inning. … Javy Lopez was in the lineup at DH for Baltimore after missing three of the previous four games due to lower back spasms. … Rafael Palmeiro, stuck in a 4-for-35 slump, wasn’t in Baltimore’s starting lineup. He flied out as a pinch hitter in the ninth to end the game. … Newhan has scored 50 runs in 65 games. … Dellucci led off a game with a homer for the first time in his career. … Barajas had one homer in his previous 46 games.