(Sports Network) - A couple of teams with nearly identical overall records get
together at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington as Texas entertains the Baltimore
Orioles in the second of a three-game series on Saturday night.
Thanks to a 3-1 win to kick off the second half of the season on Friday, the
Orioles are now sporting a 54-43 mark. It was Baltimore's second straight
victory and the fifth in the last six outings overall, yet it is still third
in the American League East, 4 1/2 games behind Boston.
Baltimore registered single runs on the second, third and fifth innings, with
Nate McLouth accounting for two of his team's six hits and knocking in one of
those crucial runs. Matt Wieters added his 13th home run of the season to
offset a pair of strikeouts.
Chris Davis, who leads the majors with 37 home runs and is second in RBI with
93, struck out three times as his batting average dipped to .311.
Nick Markakis not only drove in a run with a double in the top of the fifth
for the Orioles, he also robbed Texas slugger Adrian Beltre of a home run in
the fourth with a leaping catch against the wall in right.
"Nicky's substance is so much his style," manager Buck Showalter said. "He's
just so consistent. I cannot tell you what an asset it is to have so many
players, and Nick as much as any, who you know what you're getting from them
every night. Now I've seen this guy play through things that most people don't
think about playing through. That's why it was so emotional for all of us to
finally get into the playoffs (last year) and he wasn't able to participate."
Wei-Yin Chen picked up the win for the Orioles as he permitted just a single
run on eight hits and a couple of walks, striking out three over 6 1/3
innings. Jim Johnson logged his 34th save as well after giving up a hit in the
Derek Holland was handed the loss after giving up three runs on six hits and
two bases-on-balls, fanning six in eight innings.
Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus and Jeff Baker each tallied two hits, with Baker
scoring the lone run for a Texas squad that is now 54-42 overall and two games
behind Oakland for first in the AL West after losing two straight and five of
the last six outings overall.
Hoping to pick up where he left off before the All-Star Game, Miguel Gonzalez
heads back to the mound for the Orioles tonight in the Lone Star State. The
right-hander closed out the first half of the campaign with two straight wins
and victories in five of his last six outings.
On July 11 Gonzalez held these same Rangers to just one run on four hits and
two walks, while fanning four over the course of 6 2/3 innings.
For Gonzalez, who is in just his second major league season, the triumph
evened his record versus Texas all-time at 1-1, to go along with a 3.86 ERA.
In the case of the Rangers, they too have a relative unknown heading to the
hill for them tonight in Ross Wolf. Taken in the 18th round of the 2002 Draft
by the Florida Marlins, Wolf has appeared in a total of just 38 career games
between Florida (2007), Oakland (2010) and Texas (2013), and only this year
has he even appeared in a starting lineup.
The right-hander went up against Baltimore in his latest two appearances on
July 8 and 11, suffering a defeat in the most recent outing as he permitted
two runs on two home runs and three hits overall through six innings. Ross
walked one and struck out three as he suffered his second loss of the
While youth is being served on the mound during the game Saturday, Texas
will take a moment to reach back into the past as well, celebrating former
catcher Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez by inducting him into the Rangers Hall of Fame
prior to the game.
Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star who won 13 Gold Gloves and holds the major
league record for most games caught with 2,427, broke into the majors with the
Rangers in 1991, initially playing for the club until 2002. Considered one of
the top defensive catchers of all-time by throwing out 45.68 percent of would-
be base-stealers, Rodriguez went on to play for Florida, Detroit, the Yankees,
Houston and Washington, not to mention returning to the Rangers in 2009.
The American League MVP in 1999 when he batted .332 with career highs in hits
(199), home runs (35), RBI (113) and stolen bases (25), Rodriguez officially
retired on April 23, 2012 when he signed a one-day contract with the Rangers.
With the win on Friday night, Baltimore assumed the lead in the season series
by a 3-2 count, somewhat significant given that the O's had won only three
times in 13 tries versus Texas in the two previous seasons.
The Sports Network