10/06/12 12:23 AM ET
Saunders delivers with O's stakes the highest yet
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
"As a baseball player and an athlete, you always want to prove people wrong. We strive on that, and I strive on that, too," Saunders said. "No one really gave me a chance, and I wanted to go out there and prove people wrong."The Orioles got on the board before Saunders took the mound, but the Rangers evened the score in the first on Josh Hamilton's double-play ball, which scored Ian Kinsler, who led off with a walk. Manager Buck Showalter had right-hander Steve Johnson warming up after the first two batters reached base, but Saunders escaped the inning with only one run allowed. "It was a little dicey in the first inning, walking Kinsler to lead off, and then just got a big double play," Saunders said. "I just kept telling myself, 'Hey, minimize damage. Keep us in the game.' I got some big double plays against a really great team. Hat's off to our defense, and we got some really clutch hits." He worked his way out of trouble again in the fourth, allowing a pair of one-out singles to put runners on the corners. But Saunders -- who lived on the outside corner -- struck out Mike Napoli for the second time and got Geovany Soto to ground out to keep the game tied, 1-1.
Acquired in an August trade with Arizona, Saunders -- who grew up an Orioles fan in Virginia -- threw 77 pitches (46 strikes) and scattered six hits and a walk with four strikeouts.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.