Gonzalez has produced seven straight quality starts in an impressive stretch he'll try to continue Saturday night as the visiting Orioles face the Texas Rangers .
Chris Tillman became the fifth Orioles All-Star earlier this week when he was named as a late replacement for Justin Verlander . While Tillman ranks among the AL leaders with 11 wins, Gonzalez (7-3, 3.48 ERA) is better in ERA, opponents' batting average, WHIP and innings per start. The biggest difference between the two is run support, with Tillman receiving 6.29 per game compared to 4.46 for Gonzalez.
The Rangers (54-42) saw just how effective Gonzalez has been lately in a 3-1 loss July 11 at Camden Yards, as they were limited to four hits and one run over 6 2-3 innings.
"His mechanics are so smooth it doesn't look like he's getting it up there very fast, but he must have, because we couldn't square him up," Texas manager Ron Washington said.
Gonzalez held the Rangers' No. 2-5 hitters to one single in 12 at-bats as he moved to 5-1 with a 2.49 ERA in seven starts since the beginning of June.
Baltimore has won all of the right-hander's eight home starts this season, but is 2-6 in his road appearances despite Gonzalez posting a 3.14 ERA in those games.
After losing two straight to the Rangers last week, the Orioles have rebounded with three consecutive wins in the series, including a 3-1 victory Friday. Wei-Yin Chen pitched into the seventh inning and Matt Wieters hit a solo homer to lift Baltimore (54-43) to its fifth win in six contests.
A victory Saturday would move the Orioles a season-best 12 games over .500, but they may have to do it without any production from slugger Chris Davis , who went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts Friday and continues to struggle against his former team. He's 4 for 38 (.105) with 23 strikeouts versus Texas.
The Rangers' loss was their fifth in six games, a stretch during which they have gone 4 for 37 with runners in scoring position. They were hitless in 10 attempts Friday.
Texas failed to homer after going deep at least twice in each of its previous five home games. Nick Markakis robbed Adrian Beltre of a home run with a leaping catch in the fourth inning and added an RBI double in the fifth."That was a great play. ... He had a big part in the game tonight," teammate Nate McLouth said. "As far as right fielders, he's about as good as they come. He can swing the bat a little, too."
Ross Wolf (1-2, 2.14) faces the Orioles for the second straight start and third appearance in a row. Pressed into his second career start after an injury to Yu Darvish , Wolf was very good opposite Gonzalez on July 11, giving up solo homers to Brian Roberts and Davis and one other hit in six innings.
Those home runs were the first allowed this season by Wolf, who pitched five innings of one-run ball to beat Oakland 3-1 on May 22 in his first start.
The right-hander, who had a short stint in the Baltimore organization in 2012, retired the only batter he faced in relief against the Orioles on July 8.
|July 14, 2013||Nolan Reimold||15-Day DL||Nerve inflammation in cervical spine|
|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|
|July 12, 2013||Justin Grimm||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore right forearm|
|July 10, 2013||Yu Darvish||Day-to-Day||Strained upper back|
|July 07, 2013||Lance Berkman||15-Day DL||Left hip inflammation|
|July 07, 2013||Yu Darvish||15-Day DL||Upper back strain|
|July 06, 2013||Nick Tepesch||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|June 21, 2013||Craig Gentry||15-Day DL||Fractured left hand|
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- The Baltimore Orioles are on a roll, and everybody is getting involved.
Adam Jones homered while every starter had a hit, Miguel Gonzalez pitched another solid game on the road and the Orioles held on to beat the sliding Texas Rangers 7-4 on Saturday night.
"You're piggybacking each other. (Nate) McClouth is our ringleader; he starts the game off," Jones said. "The first two days he's started the game off with hits and he gives us a little bit of energy."
McLouth started the game with a single and a stolen base and scored on Jones' single that put the Orioles ahead to stay.
Rangers starter Ross Wolf (1-3) was done after the first four batters in the third reached base - all scored to put Baltimore up 7-0.
Wolf gave up nine hits to the 16 batters he faced, and his only two strikeouts ended the first with the bases loaded after the Orioles had already scored twice.
"They came out and they jumped on him early," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "He made a good pitch down, they hit it. He made pitches up, they hit it, they found holes. ... They put the ball in play and made something happen."
Gonzalez (8-3) allowed eight hits and one run in 6 2-3 innings. He left after his 104th pitch, when Ian Kinsler had a sac fly for the first Texas run.
"It was a really mature outing tonight because a lot of guys get too fast," manager Buck Showalter said. "He kept his tempo and kept pitching like it was 0-0, and I thought that was key."
In 20 career road games (18 starts), Gonzalez's 2.83 ERA is the lowest for AL starting pitchers with at least 100 innings since the beginning of the 2012 season. He also worked into at least the sixth in his 23rd consecutive start, the third-longest active streak in the majors.
"I've started off a little slow and building up throughout the whole year and I think that's what counts," Gonzalez said. "Hopefully I can keep it going and keep our team in good ballgames and win some more."
Jim Johnson worked the ninth for his majors-best 35th save.
The Rangers have lost six of their past seven games, and slipped a half-game behind Baltimore for the AL's second wild-card spot. The Orioles are in third place in the AL West, 3 1/2 games behind division-leading Boston.
Baltimore's 17 hits were one shy of its season high. Matt Wieters had three hits and Jones was among six players with two for the Orioles, who have won five of six.
Jones hit his 20th homer on the first pitch of the third. Chris Davis followed with a double, Wieters walked and J.J. Hardy singled to load the bases. Brian Roberts had a two-run single before Henry Urrutia , the 26-year-old Cuban prospect in his major league debut after only 67 minor league games, had an RBI single.
Jones and Davis had consecutive RBI singles in the first. An inning later, McLouth tripled and scored on Manny Machado 's hit.
The Orioles even had two runners thrown out on the bases in their four-run third.
Roberts initially retreated to first before running toward an unoccupied second base, but shortstop Elvis Andrus hustled there to take a throw and tag out Roberts. Urrutia went to third on that play, but was thrown out trying to score on McLouth's fly to left.
A.J. Pierzynski blocked the plate for the inning-ending out against Urrutia, but the Rangers catcher had a base running gaffe of his own.
Pierzynski was at first after a leadoff single in the second when Andrus blooped a ball into the short center field. Pierzynski stopped about halfway to second when Jones held up his glove like he was about to make the catch. After the ball dropped in front of him, Jones threw to second to force out Pierzynski.
"Man, that play works one in about 200,000 attempts," Jones said. "I've seen other outfielders do it. I've never really done it before, and it randomly worked in a big situation."
Notes: The start of the game and a pregame ceremony for 14-time All-Star catcher Ivan Rodriguez into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame were delayed 30 minutes by rain. ... Orioles LF Nolan Reimold is scheduled to have surgery next week to correct a spinal fusion procedure. He had his first neck surgery last June, but tests this week showed that his spine never fused properly and has to be fixed. His first surgery was the same procedure that NFL quarterback Peyton Manning had.