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BALTIMORE - Camden Yards has become a very comfortable place to pitch for Miguel Gonzalez.
The Baltimore Orioles starter hasn't lost a game at home this season, and Gonzalez kept his streak intact Thursday night against Texas by keeping down a potent Rangers offense. Baltimore's bullpen did the rest and the Orioles won 3-1 in front of 21,857 fans, salvaging a split of their four-game series.
Gonzalez tossed a quality start for the seventh consecutive outing, and he improved to 5-0 in eight home starts this season. In fact, Gonzalez has made it through the sixth inning eight starts in a row.
And the Orioles (51-42) were glad he did against a Texas team that has been dominating them for more than two-plus seasons. The Rangers were 12-3 against Baltimore going into Thursday's game over that span, and 7-3 at Camden Yards.
Gonzalez said the reason for his success comes down to one thing.
"Confidence," he said. "I mean, [Texas] was battling the whole time, a lot of foul balls, and stuff like that. Just having to be on the mound every five, six days, whenever they give me the chance to go out there and feel more confident and comfortable when I'm out there."
Gonzalez (7-3) departed with two outs in the seventh to a standing ovation and a 2-1 lead, and the right-hander tipped his hat to the crowd before entering the dugout.
Troy Patton, Darren O'Day, and Jim Johnson did the rest, with Johnson notching his 31st save of the year.
Nate McLouth's RBI single in the eighth gave Baltimore an insurance run, and Johnson induced a double play in the ninth after giving up a leadoff single to Adrian Beltre to nail down the save.
Gonzalez tossed 6 2-3 innings and struck out four while allowing one run on four hits. His reliability has been a boon for Baltimore, which has won its last 12 home games in which Gonzalez started.
"He's been pretty consistent and that's all we're asking," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter. "Going through major league lineups, especially one like Texas, is difficult. That's why not many people can do it. We're hopeful that five guys we run out there are going to give us a chance and make our bullpen better, shorten up some of the outs we have to get out of the bullpen. Miggy was solid."
Ian Kinsler led off the sixth with a line-drive homer to left and the Rangers (53-39) cut the deficit to 2-1. Gonzalez gave up a one-out single to Nelson Cruz after that, but got Beltre to hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Chris Davis hit a solo shot with one out in the second for his 34th homer of the season. It also snapped an 0-for-17 skid, and it gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead.
"I was just glad to get a hit," he said. "Got tired of striking out and grounding out and breaking bats. Kind of went on long enough."
Davis surpassed his career high for homers and RBIs (86) with the big fly.
Brian Roberts made it 2-0 when he led off the third with his second home run of the year and first at home since April 4, 2011.
"Anytime you hit a home run, it's fun," said Roberts, "but most importantly we've got back-to-back great starts."
Ross Wolf (1-2) made a spot start for the Rangers, who scratched Yu Darvish and placed him on the disabled list Wednesday with a strained upper back. Wolf went six innings and allowed two runs, but they proved to be the difference. If Wolf's was a solid spot start, Gonzalez's was simply spot on.
The Orioles' righty said he dealt with some back spasms throughout the night but they weren't a major concern, and he delivered another sturdy performance for his team.
"I told them myself, 'I'm ready to go. I'm ready to go,'" Gonzalez said. "I want to be out there and I want to go make my pitches and give my team a chance to win."
NOTE: The Orioles open a three-game series with division rival Toronto with Chris Tillman (10-3) going up against Mark Buehrle (5-5) in tonight's first game. Jason Hammel (7-5) takes on Todd Redmond (1-1) on Saturday and Scott Feldman (0-1) faces Josh Johnson on Sunday afternoon.

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