While the Texas Rangers have been a very good home team, it's their play on the road that should have the rest of the American League concerned.
Boasting their best-ever road record through 43 games, the Rangers look to keep rolling away from home when they continue a four-game set against the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night.
A seven-game trip though Baltimore and Detroit would be daunting for most teams, but the Rangers (52-37) appear to be relishing the time away. They improved to an AL-best 25-18 in opposing ballparks with Monday's 8-5 victory over the Orioles and have won seven of eight outside of Arlington.
Texas also moved 15 games over .500 for the first time since May 25 and beat the Orioles (49-41) for the 11th time in 13 regular-season meetings."My team is very confident right now," manager Ron Washington said. "We just try to go out every day and play the best game we can. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose, but we certainly don't question things. We just try to play good baseball."
Monday marked another big offensive performance by the Rangers at Camden Yards, where they have won six of seven while averaging 8.5 runs and 12.0 hits.
Beltre, who homered three times in his last regular-season game against the Orioles before Monday, is batting .436 with four home runs and six RBIs during a 10-game hit streak.
Baltimore has lost four of five, going 5 for 42 (.119) with runners in scoring position during that span."Yeah, we had our chances," catcher Matt Wieters said. "We were able to get guys on with no outs and just couldn't quite get them in."
Slugger Chris Davis struck out four times Monday and Wieters homered for the second time in three games but also struck out four times.
Davis is 3 for 25 (.120) with 12 strikeouts in July. He's 2 for 21 with 13 strikeouts against Texas, where he spent the first four-plus years of his career.
The Rangers should feel good about their chances of winning again with Martin Perez (2-1, 1.85 ERA) on the mound.
Since being recalled from Triple-A on June 22, the left-hander is 2-0 with a 0.94 ERA in three starts. He had the shortest of those outings Thursday against Seattle, allowing one unearned run and eight hits over 5 1-3 innings before leaving without a decision in a 5-4 win.
The 22-year-old rookie, though, is 1-3 with a 5.31 ERA in four career road starts - two this season.
Baltimore will hand the ball to the resurgent Zach Britton (2-2, 4.03), who has gone 2-1 with a 2.74 ERA in four starts since returning from the minors in mid-June. He limited the White Sox to two runs in a season-high seven innings of a 3-2 loss Thursday, not getting a decision.
Britton tossed 7 2-3 innings in a 5-0 victory over the Rangers on April 9, 2011, in his only appearance against them.
|July 07, 2013||Lance Berkman||15-Day DL||Left hip inflammation|
|July 06, 2013||Nick Tepesch||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|June 21, 2013||Craig Gentry||15-Day DL||Fractured left hand|
|June 13, 2013||Jeff Baker||15-Day DL||Sprained right thumb|
|June 07, 2013||Nelson Cruz||Day-to-Day||Hamstring|
|June 07, 2013||Michael Kirkman||60-Day DL||Cutaneous lymphoma in right triceps|
|June 20, 2013||Steve Pearce||15-Day DL||Left wrist tendinitis|
|June 17, 2013||Jason Hammel||Day-to-Day||Illness|
|June 06, 2013||Steve Johnson||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|May 24, 2013||Pedro Strop||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|May 24, 2013||Pedro Strop||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|May 13, 2013||Wei-Yin Chen||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
BALTIMORE (AP) -- The way Adrian Beltre has been hitting the baseball lately, it seems hard to imagine he recently endured 22 straight games without a home run.
Beltre went 4 for 4 with two homers and a season-high five RBIs to help the surging Texas Rangers beat the Baltimore Orioles 8-4 Tuesday night.
Beltre hit a solo shot in the second inning and a three-run drive in the fifth, both off Zach Britton (2-3). Beltre has six home runs in his last six games and is batting .488 (21 for 43) during an 11-game hitting streak that began on June 28.
He also singled in the fourth, received an intentional walk in the seventh and delivered an RBI single in the ninth. The two homers gave him 20 for the season and put him in a tie with teammate Lance Berkman for 74th on the career list with 366, according to the Rangers.
Before his current power surge, Beltre went from June 10 to July 3 without launching a ball out of the park. It was his longest home-run drought since he joined the Rangers in 2011.
"He's been hot and cold and he's picked it up again. He picked it up at the right time," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "When Adrian is getting it done it usually relaxes everybody else. That is what the big guy does in the middle of the lineup."
With Beltre leading the way, Texas has won 14 of 19 to move a season-high 16 games over .500 (53-37) - tied for the second-best record in franchise history after 90 games. The Rangers have scored at least five runs in six straight games and have won four in a row on the road.
"We were having trouble driving in runs and all of a sudden Adrian started driving them in and everybody started relaxing," Washington said. "Now we're putting runs on the board. I hope it can continue."
Beltre said, "We all contribute some way or another. I think we are good as a group. There's not one guy who can say he's the main guy. I think everybody's contributing right now. There's a couple games that I'm contributing a lot better than I did before."
Manny Machado homered for the Orioles, who have lost six of eight. Baltimore is 3-12 in its last 15 regular-season games against Texas.
After going 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position in a loss to Texas on Monday, the Orioles were 2 for 7 in that situation on Tuesday. Their biggest problem on this night was containing Beltre.
"You know he's a good hitter, and then when you make bad pitches on top of that he's not going to miss them," manager Buck Showalter said.
Britton gave up five runs and eight hits in five innings. After the game, he was optioned along with reliever Kevin Gausman to Triple-A Norfolk. The corresponding moves will be announced Wednesday, with one of them being the activation of left-hander Wei-Yin Chen from the disabled list.
Martin Perez (3-1) allowed four runs, two earned, and six hits in six-plus innings for the Rangers. The left-hander is 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA in four starts since being recalled from Triple-A Round Rock on June 22.
"I can't finish the seventh inning but I'm happy what I'm doing tonight," Perez said.
Perez, who came in with a run of 17 straight scoreless innings, added to the total with a perfect first. But the streak ended in the second when the Orioles used singles by Matt Wieters , Nate McLouth and Brian Roberts to pull even at 1.
Machado hit a solo drive in the third, his seventh of the season and only the second since May 5.
Texas went up 5-2 in the fifth. After Nelson Cruz singled in a run, Beltre hit a shot into the left-field seats for his 25th career multihomer game.
"I was looking for a pitch up in the zone that I could drive, and that's what I got," he said.
The Orioles closed to 5-4 in their half of the fifth. Two botched grounders preceded a two-out, two-run single by J.J. Hardy.
The Rangers added two runs in seventh. Leonys Martin walked and scored on a double by Jurickson Profar , and A.J. Pierzynski hit an RBI single following an intentional walk to Beltre.
NOTES: Chen is slated to start Wednesday night. Texas will counter with right-hander Josh Lindblom , who will be making his first start since June 20. ... Texas RHP Colby Lewis threw live batting practice Tuesday in his bid to return from offseason surgery on his right arm. "Overall, I felt great," Lewis said, although he acknowledged he needs to improve his arm strength. ... Beltre has six HRs in his last 11 games at Camden Yards.