Carroll County Times

Orioles unable to capitalize in key moments, fall to Texas

BALTIMORE - Offense hasn't been a major concern for the Baltimore Orioles this season.
Until now, perhaps.
The Orioles are scuffling at the plate, and that trend continued Monday night against Texas. The Rangers kept their run production going while Baltimore failed to capitalize on early scoring chances in an 8-5 loss before 24,619 at Camden Yards.
The Orioles (49-41) suffered their fifth loss in seven games, and lack of scoring seems to be the deciding factor. Since a sweep of the Yankees last weekend, in which it scored 19 runs in three games, Baltimore has averaged three runs per game.
That's low for one of the league's premier offensive clubs. And the Orioles didn't help themselves by going 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position and stranding 10 men on base.
"We had our opportunities. We scored five runs tonight," said manager Buck Showalter. "We've got to do a little better job pitching and take advantage of the opportunities we get."
Meanwhile, Texas raised its league-best road record to 25-18 and Derek Holland improved to 7-4 thanks to 6 2-3 innings and seven strikeouts. Plus, the Rangers won their fourth in five games and are averaging 5.5 runs in that stretch.
Ian Kinsler's three-run double in the sixth led Texas' charge, with the Rangers sending 10 batters to the plate and ending Scott Feldman's night early in his first start at home for the Orioles.
The Rangers (52-37) scored six runs on six hits in the sixth, and Feldman took the loss by giving up seven runs and nine hits in 5 1-3 innings.
He was 3-0 with a 2.55 ERA in three career starts in Baltimore before Monday's loss, which was his first with the team since being acquired July 2 in a trade with the Chicago Cubs.
A.J. Pierzynski tied the game at 3-3 with an RBI double down the left-field line, before Elvis Andrus and Engel Beltre added RBI singles to pad Texas' lead. Kinsler delivered the big blow off reliever Troy Patton, and Texas led 8-3.
"That sixth inning was a tough one," Feldman said. "I think location was not too good today. I was in a lot of hitters' counts. ... Made some decent pitches, just seemed like everything they were hitting that inning was like in a great spot."
Matt Wieters' two-run home run to right-center in the eighth trimmed the deficit to 8-5, but that's as close as Baltimore got. Rangers closer Joe Nathan nailed down his 30th save, which tied him with Jim Johnson for most in the AL.
The Orioles tied the score at 2-2 in the fourth thanks to an error with runners on second and third. Mitch Moreland fielded Brian Roberts' slow roller near first, but his throw to Holland at the bag went wide and into Baltimore's dugout.
J.J. Hardy and Nate McLouth scored on the play and Roberts took second. He scored three batters later on Manny Machado's third hit of the night, a single into left, which gave the Orioles a 3-2 lead.
Machado notched his 11th three-hit game of the year and 35th multi-hit game, which tied him with Los Angeles' Mike Trout for the league lead.
But the Orioles' power, other than Wieters' late homer, was shorting out. Wieters and Chris Davis each struck out four times, and eight of the club's 10 hits were singles.
"We took back the lead, and then they came back," center fielder Adam Jones said. "That's a great lineup over there. Their athleticism is arguably the best in the league, and they make things happen with their legs. They can rake."
Moreland had a bases-loaded single with one out in the fourth to make it 2-0 Texas, but Feldman avoided further damage when Hardy and Alexi Casilla turned a nifty 6-4-3 double play.
Showalter said things could have been worse for his team if not for three successful double plays that kept the Orioles in the game.
Their offense didn't cooperate, however.
"You kind of put yourself in some positions you don't want to be in when you get a start shortened up like we did," Showalter said. "You give up six runs in one inning, you're not going to win many games."