Orioles look to keep rolling vs. reeling Rangers

It’s long been said that good pitching beats good hitting.

But what happens when a team has both?

Enter the Baltimore Orioles, who will host the Texas Rangers on Saturday night after posting 11-2 and 2-1 wins in the first two games of the teams’ four-game series.

“We’ve been able to play some sound baseball and put some team wins together,” Orioles closer Craig Kimbrel said. “It’s always nice to go out there and score a bunch of runs, too.”

The Orioles have 58 homers in June, tying the team record for the most long balls in any month. They’ll have two games to break that mark.

Baltimore, tied with the New York Yankees atop the American League East, has won three straight games after an uncharacteristic five-game losing streak. In Friday night’s 2-1 squeaker, the Orioles managed only five hits but held the Rangers to four.

“It just says a whole lot about this team,” Baltimore outfielder Colton Cowser said. “We don’t like to get too down on our lows and too high on our highs. Just staying kind of in the middle all season long is something that it takes. So it doesn’t really surprise me the way we responded.”

The defending World Series champion Rangers will try to break a five-game losing streak. They’ve won only four of their past 14 games.

“You get in these things, you’re just looking for one big hit, one key hit, anything,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. “We did hit some balls hard, some lineouts. It’s tough going through something like this. We’re seeing good pitching.”

Texas left eight runners on base Friday night. That total included loading the bases in the seventh, scoring their lone run on a bases-loaded walk to Leody Taveras.

“Just missing the big hit,” Bochy said. “We had the right guys up there at times. We just couldn’t get the hit.”

Baltimore relievers walked five batters in the seventh and eighth innings combined but gave up just the one run.

“I think we escaped one there,” manager Brandon Hyde said.

While the Rangers are struggling to find their timing on offense, Baltimore has various players stepping up. Cowser has homered in his past three games to give him 12 home runs for the season.

Right-hander Michael Lorenzen (4-3, 3.04 ERA) will start Saturday for the Rangers, still looking to improve to 3-0 this month after a pair of no-decisions in his past two outings. Of the 10 home runs hit off him this year, five have come this month.

Lorenzen has faced the Orioles twice (one start) in his career, without a decision, and has a 0.00 ERA covering six innings.

Rookie left-hander Cade Povich (0-2, 4.15 ERA) will look for his first big-league victory when he makes his fifth start for Baltimore. He took the 3-2 loss Monday to the Cleveland Guardians, allowing three runs in 5 2/3 innings.

Povich has issued only one walk to go with 11 strikeouts across 11 2/3 innings at home.

Kimbrel has been in good form in the bullpen in June. He has struck out 13 in 8 1/3 innings, posted a 1.03 ERA and converted five of six save opportunities this month, with help from his team.

“They’re not hitting it hard, that’s why,” Kimbrel said of the opposition. “Sometimes you throw where you want and they hit it. Sometimes you miss your spots and they don’t. I’ve had some guys play good defense behind me as well.”

–Field Level Media