ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The Texas Rangers keep winning by the slimmest possible margin.
Three relievers combined to get the final 14 outs without allowing a run as the Rangers stretched their season-best winning streak to seven games, the last four being one-run decisions. They beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-3 on Monday night in a makeup game matching the American League’s top two teams.
“Our confidence has continued to grow in what they’ve been able to do obviously,” manager Jeff Banister said of the bullpen. “We know the kind of the struggles that we had earlier in the year, but these guys … they’re doing the things that we thought that they were going to be able to do coming out of spring training.”
Shin-Soo Choo hit a go-ahead two-run single in the fourth to put Texas up 4-3, right after Bobby Wilson ended a 10-pitch at-bat off Kevin Gausman (0-5) with a sacrifice fly. Ian Desmond hit his 11th homer an inning earlier, a 437-foot solo shot that landed halfway up the hill in straightaway center field.
After former closer Shawn Tolleson (2-2) worked 1 2-3 innings, Tony Barnett had two scoreless innings and Sam Dyson got the ninth for his 14th save in 15 chances, including 12 straight since taking over as the closer a month ago.
“We all go out there and fight, and everybody in the bullpen’s a stud in my opinion,” Dyson said.
Since the makeup of an April 17 rainout counted as a series, the AL West-leading Rangers stretched their club record to 10 consecutive series wins — the longest in the American League since Tampa Bay’s 10 straight three years ago.
The Rangers have the AL’s best record at 46-25, their best ever through 71 games for a 9 1/2-game lead over Seattle in the AL Central. Baltimore is 40-29, a half-game ahead of Boston in the AL East.
Texas is 17-4 in one-run games, the most such wins in the majors — and have won its last eight.
Every Baltimore starter had at least one hit, and the Orioles had runners on base in every inning. They only scored in the second, when J.J. Hardy had an RBI double before Adam Jones and Joey Rickard drove in runs with two-out hits off Derek Holland.
“Realistically, we had some opportunities that we didn’t cash in,” Orioles designated hitter Mark Trumbo said. “But on the flip side, we also got 15 hits. The offense was there. Maybe not as timely as we would have liked.”
Baltimore loaded the bases with no outs in the third before Hardy struck out and Nolan Reimold grounded into an inning-ending double play. That was the MLB-best 92nd double play turned by the Rangers this season, and they added another in the seventh.
Holland allowed 11 of the 23 batters he faced to reach base, giving up nine hits and two walks in 4 1-3 innings. The left-hander struck out four.
This was the Orioles’ first one-game trip between home games since 1967, when they had to travel about 40 miles to play the Washington Senators, the team that in 1972 became the Rangers playing in Texas — nearly 1,400 miles from Baltimore.
Two-time All-Star 3B Manny Machado remained in Baltimore for what was the second game of his four-game MLB suspension for charging the mound against Kansas City on June 7. … Desmond had his 30th multhit game, second in the majors — and all after hitting .109 through his first 12 games with Texas. … Wilson had another 10-pitch at-bat in the sixth. He struck out that time.
Orioles: RHP Brad Brach wasn’t going to pitch after appearing in two straight and three of the last four games, so he was left home. He threw 33 pitches in two innings Sunday.
Rangers: RHP A.J. Griffin, who has made three rehab starts while on the DL with right shoulder stiffness, will throw a bullpen session Tuesday. If all goes well, he could be in line to return to the Rangers’ rotation on Friday night.
Orioles: RHP Tyler Wilson (3-5) will face RHP Luis Perdomo (2-2) when Baltimore returns home for the first of two interleague games against the San Diego Padres.
Rangers: RHP Colby Lewis (6-0), who in his last start took a perfect game into the eighth inning and a no-hitter into the ninth, tries to become only the fourth Rangers pitcher from a season-opening rotation to win his first seven decisions.