ARLINGTON, Texas -- On a night when their pitchers yielded 15 hits, six walks and hit a batter, the Texas Rangers needed all the offense Nelson Cruz and his teammates could provide.
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Cruz had a three-run homer and drove in four runs in his first career four-hit game, and the Rangers matched their longest winning streak of the season with their fourth in a row, a 13-7 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday night.Texas had eight players with two hits or more while the Rangers reached double-digit runs for the fourth time in their last 14 games.Matt Treanor added a three-run homer in a five-run eighth and David Murphy had three of Texas' season-high 20 hits to help the Rangers equal their highest scoring output of the season."There's not a letup in that lineup right now," Rangers manager Ron Washington said.The Rangers greeted Brian Matusz (2-4) with a four-run first highlighted by Ian Kinsler's RBI single and Cruz's three-run shot.Cruz, who had been hampered by a hamstring injury, had been 5 for 21 in six games since being activated from the 15-day disabled list on May 14."Every at-bat I take, I feel much better at the plate," Cruz said.The Orioles answered with a three-run second on Corey Patterson's two-run double and Ty Wigginton's RBI single.But Vladimir Guerrero's two-run homer in the second and Murphy's RBI single in the third gave Texas a 7-3 lead, chasing Matusz."It's not going to happen every night, but tonight was nice," Kinsler said. "We feel like every one of us in the lineup can carry the team or drive in runs on any given night. It's nice to have confidence in your teammates like that."Rangers starter Scott Feldman (2-4) had the benefit of early run support to win for the first time since April 11 despite allowing a career-high 12 hits over six innings.Feldman gave up four runs, struck out five and walked one as AL West leader Texas won for the 10th time in 14 games to move four games ahead of Oakland in the division.Luke Scott's three hits led the Orioles, who have lost five of six and own the worst record in the majors (13-29).Matusz, in his first full season as a starter, threw seven shutout innings against Cleveland in his previous start.This time the 23-year-old lefthander lasted only 2 1/3 innings in the shortest outing of his 17 major league starts, allowing seven runs and eight hits."He's not Warren Spahn, he's not Sandy Koufax," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "He's a young guy that's learning. I guarantee you he'll take a great deal from this and the next time he faces these guys, you'll see a much better outing."
Texas LHP Matt Harrison, on the 15-day DL with left biceps tendinitis, threw 30 pitches in a simulated game without discomfort. He'll have a bullpen session on Saturday and if that goes well, he'll pitch for Double-A Frisco on Monday and Wednesday before the team decides how to proceed. LHP Derek Holland has taken Harrison's rotation spot, and Harrison will probably have to work out of the bullpen when he's activated. ... The Rangers scored 13 runs on May 6 when they beat Kansas City 13-12. ... Texas' Joaquin Arias got his first career start at 1B, with rookie Justin Smoak opening the game on the bench after playing 26 straight games since he was called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City on April 23. Smoak, a defensive replacement for Arias in the eighth, is in an 0-for-11 slump and began the night batting .174. Arias played four games at 1B for Double-A Frisco, having never even worn a 1B mitt until 10 days ago. When the Rangers waived Ryan Garko, they were left without a legit backup 1B. ... Scott got his second start of the season at 1B. Regular 1B Garrett Atkins is in an 0-for-14 slide, and Trembley said the Orioles need more production out of the position. ... Baltimore LHP Mike Gonzalez threw 18 pitches in an extended spring training game in Florida. Gonzalez has been on the 15-day DL since April 14 with a strained left shoulder.