O's bats get revenge vs. Rangers
Offense produces eight runs in game's first three innings
BALTIMORE -- Call it a down payment towards a payback. The Orioles earned a small measure of revenge against the Rangers on Friday courtesy of a 10-4 victory that was all but decided by the fourth inning. The win marked Baltimore's first home game against Texas since last August, when the Rangers drubbed the Orioles, 39-10, in a doubleheader.
Texas beat Baltimore, 30-3 and 9-7, in that twinbill, spoiling Dave Trembley's first day as full-time manager and igniting a nine-game losing streak. Eleven months later, the Orioles have put that day behind them.
"We've forgotten, I guess," said Baltimore starter Jeremy Guthrie. "The offseason takes the sting out of those things. I don't think anyone was really thinking about it. We just wanted to go out there and beat them."
This time, the offense was mostly contained to the home dugout. Texas (44-43) took the first lead on a double by Milton Bradley in the first inning, but Baltimore dominated the early going. The Orioles knotted the score in the first, scored three times to take a lead in the second and put the Rangers on the ropes with four more runs in the third.
Seven of Baltimore's nine starters had a hit in the first three innings, and six of them scored at least once and drove in at least one run. Designated hitter Aubrey Huff tied the game in the first, and infielder Brandon Fahey put the Orioles (44-41) ahead for good with a two-run double in the second. Freddie Bynum added a two-run single in the third.
The Rangers introduced some parity by scoring three runs in the seventh, but Baltimore put the game away with two runs in the eighth. And in the aftermath, Trembley said he was thrilled with his team's effort from top to bottom.
"We got production from the bottom of the lineup," he said. "Fahey's given the club a big lift. [Adam] Jones continues to swing the bat well. Not only did those guys give us a lift, they rolled the lineup over and let those guys in the middle get extra at-bats. We didn't miss very many pitches today [and] we didn't swing at too many bad ones."
Bynum, who tied a career high with three RBIs, almost didn't get a chance to play. The utility man only got the start after second baseman Brian Roberts was a late scratch due to an undisclosed illness. Bynum, who was recently promoted from Triple-A Norfolk and had just five RBIs before Friday, said that the short notice helped his performance.
"It just shows you how crazy the game is," he said. "I think that's been my big problem since I've been out here. I've been thinking too much. I just cleared my mind, took a deep breath and went out there, relaxed and played ball."
"I told him when I made the switch, 'Make the most of the opportunity. Go for it,' " added Trembley. "And he did today. He played with some energy. I thought it was important, especially after last night's game.
"He gave us a real big lift. The two-out hit that he got, those two runs were add-on runs for us and I don't think you ever have enough runs when you play against this club. You've got to get them."
Texas starter Vicente Padilla absorbed all the early damage, getting charged with nine hits and eight earned runs. Padilla (10-5) left with two outs in the third inning and saw his ERA rise by more than a half-run (from 4.13 to 4.70).
"I didn't see him throw too many breaking pitches that we swung at," said Trembley. "And we hit with men on base. That was it. We hit with men on base. You've got to do it, especially early in the game. When you get scoring opportunities with less than two outs, you've got to cash them in, and we stayed away from striking out with guys on base."
Guthrie, meanwhile, was steadily controlling one of the most dangerous lineups in baseball. The right-hander didn't allow the Rangers to reach scoring position in between the second and sixth innings, holding Texas down while Baltimore lengthened its lead. Guthrie (5-7) stumbled in the seventh, allowing three runs, but his bullpen held him up.
The former first-round pick has won three of his last four starts and has completed six innings in 15 of his 19 outings. After a bout with poor run support early in the year, Guthrie has seen the offense come alive in his last few outings.
"The team's hitting the ball very well," he said. "They did a nice job today, of course. And for the past couple weeks, it seems like we're always putting some runs on the board and giving us a chance to win."
"He threw a lot of first-pitch strikes early," Trembley said. "And what we haven't done collectively as a team, he did. After we scored, he put shutdown innings up there for us. He's pitched a whole lot better than [his record]. ... We stayed away from [George] Sherrill [and] I didn't have to put [Jim] Johnson back out there for two innings, so it's a good win for us."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.