WP: Francisco Cordero (2-1)
LP: Jorge Julio (3-3)
S: James Baldwin (1)
BAL: 51-49 (3rd in AL East, 4.5 behind Boston, 2.5 behind New York, tied with Toronto)
In a game that looked like it would be an easy Orioles victory in the early-going, Bruce Chen and the O's bullpen ended up finding out just how strong the Rangers bats are.
The Birds jumped out to a 5-0 lead in two innings after a three-run bomb from Miguel Tejada, a solo shot from Sammy Sosa (to give him sole possession of fifth place on the all-time homer list) and a Brian Roberts RBI single. But the pitching wouldn't hold, giving it all away in the fourth inning and more in the fifth.
Texas smacked three homers in the fourth, one each from Rod Barajas, former Oriole Gary Matthews Jr. and Maryland native Mark Teixeira to tie the game at five and chase Bruce Chen from the game.
In the fifth, Todd Williams gave up a run on a Mark DeRosa single to give Texas a 6-5 lead.
The O's fought back, though, tying it in the eighth with a Melvin Mora RBI single, but Texas scored two in the ninth to go up 8-6.
But, oh no, it wasn't over yet. Baltimore rallied in the ninth with a two-run blast by Javy Lopez (his second homer in as many nights) to send it to extra innings.
After the Orioles had been on the ropes and come back twice already in the game, Gary Matthews Jr. continued his complete ownership of the Orioles this series with a three-run homer off of Jorge Julio that knocked the Orioles to the mat.
Knock out. No need to go to the judges' cards.
The Orioles wouldn't come back in the bottom half, and the Orioles took their seventh loss in eight games.
The O's will look for a series split when they play the series finale tonight at 7:05 at Camden Yards. Sidney Ponson (7-9, 5.91 ERA, throws right) will pitch for the Orioles, assuming he doesn't get traded, get hauled off in a squad car, or pass out at a buffet table before then. Ricardo Rodriguez (2-2, 5.31 ERA, throws right) will go to the mound for Texas.
All ribbing aside, Ponson had a quality start in his last outing but took the loss wen the Orioles only scored two runs against the Devil Rays. He threw seven innings, giving up three runs on nine hits and no walks.
Rodriguez, on the other hand, has given up 11 runs in 8.1 innings in two starts since being brought back into the rotation.