BALTIMORE -- After having their unbeaten run squelched by a rookie pitcher, the Texas Rangers returned to form with a power-hitting display worthy of the team that owns the best record in the majors.
Adrian Beltre homered to cap a six-run third inning, and the Rangers used a 13-1 rout Saturday night to gain a satisfying doubleheader split.In the first game, Orioles rookie Zach Britton took a two-hitter into the eighth inning, and Baltimore got homers from Nick Markakis and Mark Reynolds in a 5-0 victory that ruined the Rangers' stature as the last undefeated team in the big leagues.
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Eager to rebound after managing only five hits in the opener, Texas unloaded on Orioles starter Jake Arrieta (1-1) in the nightcap. Arrieta gave up eight runs and six hits, including homers to Beltre and Mike Napoli, in 3 1/3 innings.Beltre went 3-for-5 with three RBIs, and Nelson Cruz hit a three-run homer in the ninth to finish with four RBIs."That's what we can do," manager Ron Washington said of the Rangers' 13-hit attack.Matt Harrison (2-0) allowed one run and two hits in seven innings for Texas (7-1). Harrison retired 18 straight after giving up a second-inning homer to Adam Jones."We're not going to get shut out very often," Harrison said. "The guys are going to swing the bat and they did that the second game. They gave me a good cushion and I was doing what I can to get them back in the dugout so they could keep swinging the bats."Texas took control in the third. After Elvis Andrus and Josh Hamilton hit two-run singles, Beltre came to the plate with a .103 batting average and drove an 0-2 pitch over the left-field wall."Bell needed to get loose, and he got loose," Washington said.Napoli hit a solo shot in the fourth that traveled an estimated 424 feet. Mitch Moreland followed with a single, and Ian Kinsler greeted Josh Rupe with a run-scoring double for an 8-1 lead.Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy left after the second inning with a sore muscle in his left rib cage. A similar injury caused him to miss the previous two games, and this one should land him on the 15-day disabled list."He'll probably get an MRI on Monday to make sure what we are dealing with, but I look for him to be a DL candidate," manager Buck Showalter said.In the opener, the Rangers were seeking to match the franchise-record 7-0 start of the 1996 club. But the defending AL champions fell behind 5-0 after three innings and never threatened to make up the difference."The first two innings they put the runs on the board," Washington said, "and the kid did the rest."Britton (2-0) allowed four hits in 7 2/3 innings. He walked three, struck out two and permitted only two runners past first base in his second big league start.
Great Britton Messin' With Texas
Orioles rookie Zach Britton confounded the Rangers with a sinker that was ranked the best in the minors by Baseball America. Britton recorded 16 groundouts, including three double plays. Of his 103 pitches, 64 were "down." Five leadoff hitters reached base via hit or walk, but in four of those five innings, Britton recorded three infield outs to escape damage. He threw only one pitch that was "middle/middle," and of the 27 batters he faced, he went to three-ball counts to only four of them.
The left-hander was aided by three double plays -- two of which came off the bat of Beltre. In the eighth, after Texas got runners at the corners with two outs, Jason Berken came in and retired Kinsler on a fielder's choice.Colby Lewis (1-1) allowed five runs, four earned, in six innings to end a run of five straight wins by Texas starters.Markakis put Baltimore up 1-0 in the first inning with his first homer of the season.In the second, Luke Scott singled and Jones reached on an error before Reynolds homered to left. That made it 4-0, the largest deficit the Rangers had faced this season.Baltimore added a run in the third when Vladimir Guerrero singled, Scott walked and Jones delivered an RBI single."It's two different worlds when you are pitching with a lead and when you are pitching behind," Britton said.The nightcap, however, was completely different."Just because you get held down for one game doesn't mean you have to let that affect the next game," left fielder Michael Young said.
The doubleheader was scheduled after Friday night's game was rained out. The Rangers are not scheduled to return to Baltimore after Sunday. ... Baltimore is 17-4 in series openers since manager Buck Showalter took over last August. ... Murphy has three of the Rangers' five stolen bases. ... Arrieta's ERA jumped from 1.50 to 8.68.