BALTIMORE (AP) — All of a sudden, the Baltimore Orioles’ starting rotation is pitching magnificently.
The question is: Has this struggling staff finally found its groove, or is it because the opposition is the Texas Rangers?
Kevin Gausman pitched six innings of four-hit ball, Adam Jones homered and scored three runs and Baltimore beat the faltering Rangers 10-2 on Wednesday night.
Gausman (6-7) gave up one run, struck out eight and walked two. The right-hander came in with a 6.39 ERA and had yielded a total of 14 runs in his last two starts.
Though the Orioles’ faulty rotation is one big reason why the team is four games under .500, the starters in this series have combined to allow three runs over 18 innings.
“It’s a roll we’d like to get on,” manager Buck Showalter said. “Start kind of passing the baton to the next guy.”
Having thus far outscored Texas 25-4 in the series, the Orioles will attempt to complete a four-game sweep on Thursday.
“I think we all know that we need to pitch better and, you know, we’re trying to do that,” Gausman said. “Obviously the offense is what’s kind of given us a bigger margin for error.”
Trey Mancini contributed two hits in a seven-run seventh inning, including a bases-loaded triple, and Jonathan Schoop finished with three hits and three RBIs.
Joey Gallo hit his 22nd home run for the Rangers, who have dropped four straight and scored only eight runs in their last five games.
“We have to continue to believe in our offense. That’s a challenge for us right now,” manager Jeff Banister said. “It’s been a bit of a stretch where one run has been the case for us and it’s coming off solo shots.”
Adrian Beltre hit a fourth-inning double to move within 17 hits of 3,000 for his career. It was his 602nd double, breaking a tie with Barry Bonds for 16th place on the all-time list.
But there were few other highlights for the Rangers, now 2-4 on a 10-game trip out of the All-Star break.
“It just seems tough to score right now,” said Elvis Andrus, who went 0 for 4.
Texas had eight hits — only two for extra bases.
“We can score runs. We need to get back to that and show our identity again,” Gallo said. “I don’t think anyone in this clubhouse is worried or panicking.”
Jones got Baltimore started with a leadoff homer off Martin Perez (5-7), and Schoop made it 3-0 with a two-run double in the third.
Gallo connected in the fifth, but the Orioles pulled away in the seventh. Baltimore got six hits and took advantage of an error by catcher Robinson Chirinos to score four unearned runs.
MAKE NO MISTAKE
Beltre played his 54th consecutive errorless game, the longest run of his career and a team record by a third baseman.
Buddy Bell and Hank Blalock both played 53 error-free games in a row at third base for Texas. Beltre was charged with an error after missing a line drive Tuesday, but the call was changed to a hit later in the game.
Rangers: RHP Keone Kela (sore shoulder) had a throwing session Wednesday and could be activated from the DL on Thursday. … RHP A.J. Griffin (rib cage) allowed four runs and six hits in 3 1/3 innings in a rehabilitative start for Triple-A Round Rock on Wednesday.
Orioles: INF Ryan Flaherty (shoulder) and SS J.J. Hardy (wrist fracture) fielded grounders before Baltimore took batting practice. The Orioles hope Flaherty can begin a rehab assignment next week. … RHP Hunter Harvey, drafted 22nd overall in 2013, threw 27 pitches in the Gulf Coast League. It was his first action since Tommy John surgery last summer.
Rangers: LHP Cole Hamels (4-0, 3.05 ERA) brings a 21-inning scoreless streak into the series finale Thursday night. He was out from May to late June with a right oblique strain.
Orioles: LHP Wade Miley (4-8, 5.40 ERA) surrendered seven runs in two of his previous three starts and has lost four of five decisions.
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