Hot-hitting Orioles eye sweep of Rangers

8:54 AM, Jul 21, 2013   |    comments
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(Sports Network) - The Baltimore Orioles try to pick up some more ground in the American League East standings Sunday night as they close out a three-game series with the Texas Rangers in Arlington.

Sitting in third place in the division, just 3 1/2 games behind the Boston Red Sox, Baltimore is again heating up thanks to a 17-hit barrage that resulted in a 7-4 road win last night. The victory was the third in a row for the Orioles and the sixth in the last seven outings.

Every player in the starting lineup for the O's had at least one hit, while Matt Wieters collected three to go along with a walk as he bumped his batting average to .238. Adam Jones and Brian Roberts both knocked in a pair of runs, the former hitting his 20th home run of the season along the way.

Now hitting .313, Chris Davis picked up two hits in five at-bats, recording his 94th RBI of the campaign, which has him still one behind Detroit's Miguel Cabrera, who leads the majors. However, the major league leader in home runs with 37 fouled a ball off his right ankle bone in the third inning, although he did stay in the game.

"It's sore, it tightened up a little bit," Davis said of the injury. "I obviously iced it, will wrap it up for tonight. It's something where every guy -- I've seen Adam Jones foul about 800 balls off his foot this year, so just one of those things."

Miguel Gonzalez was able to make it through 6 2/3 innings, the starter scattering eight hits and allowing just one run while striking out three, en route to his eighth win of the campaign. Reliever Tommy Hunter was roughed up quite a bit while giving up three runs on four hits in just 1 1/3 innings, but he was able to get the game to Jim Johnson, who captured his 35th save.

As well as Gonzalez pitched, Texas starter Ross Wolf wasn't nearly as lucky as he was chased after only two innings. Wolf permitted seven runs on nine hits and two walks, while the bullpen managed to stop the bleeding by holding the visitors scoreless after the third frame.

"Execution ... I feel like I didn't execute some pitches and they found some holes," Wolf said. "They have a good lineup, and if you make mistakes, they're going to punish you."

While Wolf may have had his struggles on the mound, the fact remained that Texas batters simply could not get timely hits even though they logged 14 in the meeting.

David Murphy and A.J. Pierzynski both had three hits for the hosts, the former knocking in two runs with a single in the bottom of the eighth inning. Jurickson Profar and Adrian Beltre contributed two hits apiece as well

Shooting for his 12th win of the season tonight, Chris Tillman takes the mound for the Orioles. Victorious in all but one of his last nine decisions, the right-hander is coming off a decent performance versus Toronto back on July 12, an outing that resulted in an 8-5 win for Baltimore.

In that contest Tillman lasted six innings, permitting three runs on eight hits and a walk, while striking out five in order to move to an impressive 11-3 on the campaign.

Now in his fifth major league season, all with the Orioles, Tillman has a career mark of 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA in three all-time starts versus Texas.

Countering for the Rangers this time around will be Martin Perez, who is in just his second major league season. The left-hander, who registered a win over Baltimore less than two weeks ago, is shooting for his fourth win in the last five decisions.

More recently, Perez went out against Detroit a week ago and was touched for five runs on just four hits, three of those being home runs, in 5 2/3 innings. The hurler walked three and struck out four as the Rangers suffered the 5-0 shutout on the road.

With quality starts becoming more and more infrequent these days for the Rangers, the good news is that the team expects Yu Darvish to come off the disabled list on Monday and Alexi Ogando to return on Tuesday. As bad as it has been for Texas, a team which is now two games behind Oakland for first place in the AL West, it still owns the third-best team ERA in the league at 3.76.

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