Kinsler’s 5 hits carries Rangers over Orioles

BALTIMORE, MD - With Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton leading the way, the Texas Rangers emphatically ended an uncharacteristic hitting drought.

Kinsler broke out of an extended slump with a career-high five hits, including a homer, and Hamilton also connected to lead the Rangers past the Baltimore Orioles, 15-7 on Sunday.

Held to one run over their previous three games, the Rangers matched their season high with 20 hits. Kinsler had more hits than in his last seven starts combined, scored three runs and collected three RBIs. He was 18-for-88 (.205) since the All-Star break and had not homered since July 5.

“He was very good. It’s nice to see him back,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “Hopefully, he got his second wind and he can do what he did in the first half.”

Hamilton hit his 28th homer, a three-run drive that snapped a 3-for-22 skid and increased his major league-leading RBI total to 111. Marlon Byrd went 4-for-6 with a homer and four RBIs, one of six Texas starters with at least two hits.

Now that’s Texas Rangers baseball.

“Today, it certainly was,” Washington said. “The past two days, it certainly wasn’t.”

Aubrey Huff homered to extend his hitting streak to a career-best 18 games, Brian Roberts went 4-for-4 and Melvin Mora had a homer and four RBIs. Baltimore, which outscored Texas 18-1 in the first two games of the series, fell to 2-17 on Sundays.

After holding the Rangers in check Friday and Saturday, the Orioles couldn’t do it any longer.

“They were ready to break it out,” manager Dave Trembley said. “They score an awful lot of runs, and if you make a mistake, they don’t foul it off. They hit it.”

Texas used a six-run fifth inning to go up 12-6. Travis Metcalf singled in the tiebreaking run against Randor Bierd (0-2) and Jason Ellison hit a two-run single before Kinsler, Michael Young and Byrd added RBI singles off Lance Cormier.

Byrd hit a three-run homer off George Sherrill in the ninth to complete the onslaught.

“It was a great time for us to start swinging the bats,” said Kinsler, well aware that Texas has a day off before beginning a three-game series against the Red Sox. “Hopefully, we’re going to Boston swinging the bats well.”

Byrd said, “We get a day off, get fresh legs, go to Boston and try to catch up. That will tell us where we are at, at the end of that three-game span.”

Texas starter Matt Harrison (4-2) gave up six runs and 10 hits in five innings.

Chris Waters, who allowed one hit over eight innings in his major league debut with Baltimore on Tuesday against Los Angeles, yielded six runs, seven hits and three walks in four innings.

“Waters was a different pitcher today. His location was up,” Trembley said.

Said Waters: “Right out of the gate I wasn’t really consistent with my fastball location, and in the big leagues you’ll notice, anywhere, that if you miss your spots bad things happen.”

Kinsler began the game by hitting a popup that shortstop Alex Cintron lost in the sun. The ball dropped for a tainted single—equaling the number of hits Waters surrendered in his debut. Young then drew a walk before Hamilton hit a drive to center that traveled an estimated 420 feet.

The Rangers batted around, using a run-scoring RBI single by Metcalf to go up 4-0.

Mora hit a two-run shot in the bottom half, and Orioles rookie Luis Montanez added an RBI single in the second. Baltimore took a 5-4 lead in the third when Huff homered after Mora walked.

Kinsler put Texas back in front with a two-run homer in the fourth, but Baltimore pulled even in the bottom half when Roberts doubled and scored on a two-out single by Mora.

Mora, who added an RBI double in the ninth, went 7-for-14 with eight RBIs in the series. His homer Sunday was the 150th of his career.