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With 13 hits, Orioles edge Texas Rangers, 6-5, for fourth consecutive victory

Baseball

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Despite the best efforts of Texas Rangers slugger Adrian Beltre, who seems to be a thorn in the side of the Orioles every time the teams meet, the Orioles emerged from Wednesday’s back-and-forth game with their fourth straight win.

The Orioles’ 6-5 victory over the Rangers earned a series win here in Texas and guaranteed that they would complete their three-city, 10-game road trip with at least a .500 record.

The Orioles (30-27) have scored 27 runs with 50 hits over their last four games. In the first two games here in Texas, they have scored 14 runs with 30 hits, outlasting the Rangers in the later innings both nights. They had 13 hits Wednesday.

"We just keep grinding through the road trip,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “I've said 100 times about trusting the track record and it will happen. It's just too many good players with good skills. It's just kind of frustrating because you want it to be there every night, and as much as you work toward it to be perfect, it's not always that way."

On Wednesday, the first four hitters in the Orioles lineup were 9-for-18, led by leadoff hitter Nick Markakis, who was 2-for-3 with a homer and two walks and drove in the game-winning run.

Markakis’ two-out, opposite-field RBI single in the sixth off left-handed reliever Aaron Poreda broke a 5-5 tie and was the edge in a game that also included four homers and its share of defensive and base-running miscues on a muggy Texas night.

“I’ve liked the offense all season,” Markakis said. “We’ve been doing what we need to do. ... Everybody’s been having good at-bats up here. It seems like when they’ve been throwing it over the plate, we’ve been putting good swings on it. We’ve been able to find the hole and find the gap. We don’t need to change anything.”

Beltre hit two homers and drove in five runs, giving him nine homers and 18 RBIs over his last 10 games against the Orioles. It was his third five-RBI game in that span.

Beltre’s three-run homer off right-hander Bud Norris tied the game at 5 in the fifth inning and sparked life into the announced crowd of 27,934 at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Beltre also hit a two-run homer off Norris in the first inning.

The game-tying homer came right after Mitch Moreland’s comebacker hit Norris on the right forearm. After Showalter and head athletic trainer Richie Bancells ran to the mound to check on Norris, he remained in the game after three warm-up pitches.

Norris then delivered a high-and-outside 1-2 fastball that Beltre swatted into the Rangers bullpen to tie the game.

“I got ahead in the count, 0-2, he fouled off a couple fastballs, and he fouled off the good slider that I threw,” Norris said. “So, I’m trying to climb the ladder a little bit. He put another good swing on it. He’s locked in right now. It’s all you can say right now.”

Norris (4-5) left the game after that inning with a right forearm contusion after 99 pitches. The five runs he allowed tied a season-high, and his five innings matched his season-low, both occurring in his first start of the season on April 5 in Detroit.

“Pretty sore,” Norris said of his forearm. “You never want to get smoked by a comebacker, but the trainers will look at it the next couple days and get rid of the swelling as best I can.”

Norris said he hoped he would be able to make his next start, but he was uncertain.

“I don’t know, I really got to see how it is tomorrow,” Norris said. “The swelling is really going to come tomorrow, so talking to Richie, he was like ‘Let’s put some ice on it. Let’s get a compression sleeve on it, and we will monitor the swelling the next couple days.”

The Orioles bullpen held the Rangers scoreless over the final four innings.

Despite allowing two hits in the ninth, Orioles closer Zach Britton converted his fifth save in six opportunities with a scoreless inning.

Elvis Andrus pushed a bunt toward second base for a single, but Shin-Soo Choo hit the first pitch he saw to shortstop J.J. Hardy for a 6-4-3 double play.

Britton then allowed a looping single to right field by Luis Sardinas, but struck out pinch-hitter Michael Choice on three pitches to end the game.

With the game tied at 5, the Orioles had four hits and drew a walk in the sixth but only scored one run.

The Orioles had two on and no outs after Jonathan Schoop opened the inning with a single and  David Lough drew a walk. But catcher Caleb Joseph dropped a bunt that Rangers pitcher Nick Martinez (1-2) scooped up and threw to third to get Schoop, the lead runner.

Lough was then thrown out attempting to steal third base, but Markakis was able to single home Joseph despite the Rangers going to a lefty-against-lefty matchup with Poreda. Markakis is hitting .333 (23-for-69) against left-handers this year.

“Any time, righty or left there, any time you get the job done, you’re doing what you’re supposed to do,” Markakis said. “Against that guy, I’ve never seen him before. I knew he threw hard. It was one of those situations where you try not to do too much, just put the ball in play, and wherever it ends up, it ends up. It ended up finding a hole and scoring a run, and obviously, it worked out.”

Manny Machado and Nelson Cruz followed with back-to-back singles to load the bases, but Adam Jones grounded into a force out to end the inning.

Markakis opened the third inning with a homer on a first-pitch delivery from Martinez, turning on a 90-mph fastball and sending it into the right-field stands for his fourth homer of the season to tie the game at 2.

Machado followed with a double down the left-field line, and Cruz reached on a throwing error by Sardinas at shortstop.

Jones then singled up the middle to drive home Machado, giving the Orioles a 3-2 lead. After Chris Davis drew a walk to load the bases, J.J. Hardy’s sacrifice fly to right scored Cruz to give the club a two-run cushion.

Davis blasted his eighth homer of the season in the fifth inning, a towering solo shot to right with two outs, putting the Orioles up, 5-2.

The top of the first inning was kept alive when Sardinas dropped a high popup, allowing Cruz -- who was running hard with two outs -- to take second. Jones then singled up the middle to score Cruz and give the Orioles an early 1-0 lead.

Norris struggled through a 28-pitch first inning, hitting the first batter he faced, Shin-Soo Choo. Davis then made a nice play at first to start a 3-6-3 double play that seemingly would get Norris out of the inning.

It didn’t. He issued a full-count walk to Moreland, and Beltre took a 1-0 pitch from Norris the opposite way into the right-field seats for a two-run homer to put Texas (29-30) up, 2-1.

“He hit both balls to right-center field, and when he’s locked in, especially hitting the ball that way, you got to tip your cap,” Norris said. “A little tough break, but hats off to our guys from coming back the next inning and putting one run across, which was a winning run.”

eencina@baltsun.com

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