For a second straight night, the Orioles pummeled Texas' starting pitcher early. Four batters reached base in the first against Vicente Padilla, and Brian Roberts scored on Kevin Millar's RBI single. Four more reached base in the second, and Nick Markakis gave the Orioles a commanding lead with a three-run homer to right-center. Roberts walked and scored in each of the first two innings. He also lined his league-leading 42nd double and scored in the fourth inning.
Starter Daniel Cabrera entered the night leading the American League in walks, wild pitches and hit batters. But he avoided control pitfalls for most of his six shutout innings. The Rangers loaded the bases in the first and sixth innings, but between those iffy bookends, Cabrera cruised through the Texas lineup. He allowed three walks (one intentional) and four hits on the way to his eighth win of the season.
Aubrey Huff extended his hitting streak to 17 games with a looping double to left field in the second inning. The streak matches Huff's career long, which he reached in 2002 with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Huff also tied Markakis for the Orioles' longest hitting streak this season. Huff is batting a torrid.378 after the All-Star break, and he entered last night's game tied with Roberts for the AL lead in extra-base hits.
The Orioles will try to sweep their three-game series with the Rangers this afternoon (1:35) before heading back on the road for seven games. They'll face left-hander Matt Harrison, who has struggled for most of the season but held the New York Yankees to two runs in 6 1/3 innings in his latest outing. Harrison has never started against the Orioles. He will oppose Chris Waters, who will try for a fitting encore after throwing eight one-hit, shutout innings in his major league debut Tuesday. Waters was 3-6 with a 5.70 ERA at Triple-A Norfolk, but the left-hander easily dominated the AL West-leading Los Angeles Angels on the road.