BALTIMORE, MD—The Texas Rangers had nearly blown a six-run lead in the final two innings, and manager Ron Washington spoke with no small measure of relief after a ragged 11-10 win over the Baltimore Orioles.
“In a 162-game season, sometimes you’re going to get those games where you just got to hold on. It doesn’t matter how many runs you score. Today was one of those days,” Washington said Sunday. “I’m very happy we held on.”
David Murphy hit a three-run homer, Ian Kinsler got three singles to extend his hitting streak to 18 games, and the Rangers completed a successful road trip despite yielding three homers in the final two innings.
Murphy’s fourth-inning shot, which followed a two-out intentional walk to Milton Bradley, gave Texas the lead for good. But the Rangers let an 11-5 cushion dwindle to 11-10 before C.J. Wilson struck out Brian Roberts to end it.
“I thought we were going to get one today,” Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. “We kept coming back and coming back.”
The Rangers took two of three to improve to 15-4-2 in their past 21 series and completed a six-game swing through New York and Baltimore with a 4-2 record.
Kinsler went 3-for-5 with a walk to finish 7-for-13 with three walks and five runs in the series. His 18-game hitting streak is one short of his career high, set earlier this season.
Kevin Millar went 4-for-4 with a homer for the Orioles, who have lost 13 straight Sunday games. Roberts, Nick Markakis and Melvin Mora also connected for Baltimore, which went 2-for-19 with runners in scoring position.
“It was a crazy game. We battled like crazy. We never gave up, never gave in,” Roberts said.
The Rangers took a 6-3 lead during a four-run fourth. After Ramon Vazquez singled in a run, the Orioles walked Bradley to get to Murphy, who crossed up the strategy and ended a 1-for-13 skid by driving a pitch from Radhames Liz (3-1) over the right-field wall.
That ended Liz’s afternoon after 103 pitches, most of which were thrown under duress. He worked out of bases-loaded jams in the first and third innings before finally relenting in the fourth.
“We kept Liz in trouble but we never could bust through. On the 103rd pitch we finally got him,” Washington said. “From that point on, things just started going in our favor.”
Liz, who was unbeaten in six starts, said, “This is going to happen sometimes. Not everything is going to be perfect.”
Baltimore closed to 6-5 in the fifth against Kevin Millwood (6-4). After Millwood threw wildly to second on a potential double-play ball with runners at the corners, Luke Scott followed with an RBI grounder.
But the Rangers sent 10 players to the plate in a five-run eighth, the key blow a two-run single by German Duran.
Markakis hit a three-run homer off Josh Rupe in the bottom half, and Millar and Mora homered off Wright in the ninth before the closer put a merciful end to a game that lasted 3 hours, 48 minutes.
“We scored enough runs to fight them off,” Washington said.
Texas loaded the bases in the first inning before Liz struck out Murphy and retired Brandon Boggs on a grounder. Baltimore took the lead in the bottom half when Roberts singled, stole two bases and scored on a fly ball by Aubrey Huff.
Adam Jones singled in an unearned run in the second after Boggs misplayed a single to left by Millar.
The Rangers pulled even with two unearned runs in the third, courtesy of an error by Liz. Roberts promptly put Baltimore back in front with a leadoff homer in the bottom half, but it would be the Orioles’ last lead during another lost Sunday afternoon.