BALTIMORE (AP) — Facing a pitcher who had given them fits in the past, the Texas Rangers continued their long-ball barrage against the Baltimore Orioles.
In spite of that, Wei-Yin Chen again proved to be too tough for the Rangers to handle.
Chen pitched eight innings of four-hit ball and the Orioles got a tiebreaking two-run homer from J.J. Hardy in a 4-2 victory Wednesday night.
After hitting four home runs in each of the first two games of the series, the Rangers got solo shots from Shin-Soo Choo and Ryan Rua. That, unfortunately, was the extent of their damage against Chen.
Chen (4-4) needed only 87 pitches to get 24 outs and improve his lifetime record against Texas to 5-0 with a 1.80 ERA.
“Chen with the fastball and changeup was really tough on our guys,” manager Jeff Banister said. “We did clip him for a couple home runs, but it wasn’t enough.”
Zach Britton struck out the side in the ninth for his 23rd save.
Nick Martinez (5-5) gave up four runs, three earned, and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings for Texas. He has lost three straight starts.
“I think it was a really good step in the right direction,” the right-hander said. “Even though it didn’t turn out my way, I feel good.”
With the score tied at 2, Chris Davis led off the Baltimore seventh with a single and with one out Hardy hit a 1-1 pitch into the seats in left field.
“I just felt like I saw it pretty well out of his hand,” Hardy said. “I was able to put a good swing on it.”
Choo put the Rangers up 1-0 in the third inning by homering in a third straight game. He pulled off that feat once before — in April 2013 with Cincinnati. He is the first Texas player to do it since Adrian Beltre in September 2012.
“I’ve got a little bit of confidence,” Choo said.
Rau made it 2-0 with a drive to right in the fourth.
Jimmy Paredes countered with his 10th homer in the Baltimore half. A double by Ryan Flaherty, an error by Beltre at third base and a run-scoring grounder by Paredes tied it in the sixth.
Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton was given the night off after returning from a hamstring strain Tuesday and playing in his first game since May 31.
“We had scheduled that this was going to be a down day for him,” Banister said, adding that the plan is for Hamilton to return to the starting lineup in the series finale Thursday night.
Although Baltimore leadoff hitter Manny Machado went 0 for 4 to end his 12-game hitting streak, he contributed in the field with several exceptional plays at third base. In the seventh, he dived to his left to snare a grounder by Choo, made the throw while on his back and got the runner by a step.
“He does things every night that amaze me,” said Hardy, the Orioles’ shortstop and quite a fine fielder himself.
Rangers: OF Delino DeShields (hamstring) played in the field at Triple-A Round Rock for the first time on Tuesday. … Leadoff hitter Rougned Odor did not play after undergoing a dental procedure.
Orioles: 2B Jonathan Schoop (left knee) will continue his rehab assignment with Class A Frederick. He could join the Orioles on Sunday, when OF Nolan Reimold is expected to go on paternity leave.
Rangers: RHP Yovani Gallardo (7-6, 2.72 ERA) brings a scoreless streak of 23 1/3 innings into Thursday night’s game. He was 2-0 with a 0.54 ERA in June.
Orioles: Kevin Gausman (1-0, 4.24) will be recalled from Norfolk for his second start of the season.
OF Delmon Young was designated for assignment by the Orioles, who needed the roster spot to fortify their 6-man bullpen. RHP Tyler Wilson was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk. “We’ve got good quality people and you reach a point where you can’t keep them all,” manager Buck Showalter said.