BALTIMORE (AP) — Zach Britton’s brilliant performance against the Texas Rangers seemed even more impressive after the defending AL champions staged a power-hitting display against another young Baltimore pitcher.
Britton took a two-hitter into the eighth inning, and the Orioles got homers from Nick Markakis and Mark Reynolds in a 5-0 victory Saturday in the first game of a doubleheader.
The second game, however, was completely different. Adrian Beltre homered to cap a six-run third inning, and Texas rolled to a 13-1 win to earn a split.
After watching the Rangers unload on starter Jake Arrieta in the nightcap, Orioles manager Buck Showalter could better appreciate what Britton did in the opener.
“That’s a tough team to keep to no runs, as evidenced by the second game,” Showalter said.
Britton (2-0) allowed four hits in 7 2-3 innings. The rookie walked three, struck out two and permitted only two runners past first base in his second big league start.
The left-hander was aided by three double plays — two of which came off the bat of Beltre. In the eighth, after Texas got runners at the corners with two outs, Jason Berken came in and retired Kinsler on a fielder’s choice.
Britton received a standing ovation from the crowd as he walked off the mound toward the dugout.
“It felt really good. It just kind of shows that the fans are behind you,” he said. “There was a couple times with two strikes, they got pretty loud. I got goose bumps there. It takes a little bit to get used to, but it’s exciting.”
Arrieta (1-1) gave up eight runs and six hits, including homers to Beltre and Mike Napoli, in 3 1-3 innings.
“That’s a great lineup,” the right-hander said. “When I did miss, they didn’t.”
Beltre went 3 for 5 with three RBIs, and Nelson Cruz hit a three-run homer in the ninth to finish with four RBIs.
Matt Harrison (2-0) allowed one run and two hits in seven innings for the Rangers, who own the best record in the majors (7-1). Harrison retired 18 straight after giving up a second-inning homer to Adam Jones.
Texas took control in the third. After Elvis Andrus and Josh Hamilton hit two-run singles, Beltre came to the plate with a .103 batting average and drove an 0-2 pitch over the left-field wall.
Napoli hit a solo shot in the fourth that traveled an estimated 424 feet. Mitch Moreland followed with a single, and Ian Kinsler greeted Josh Rupe with a run-scoring double for an 8-1 lead.
Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy left after the second inning with a sore muscle in his left rib cage. A similar injury caused him to miss the previous two games, and this one should land him on the 15-day disabled list.
“He’ll probably get an MRI on Monday to make sure what we are dealing with, but I look for him to be a DL candidate,” manager Buck Showalter said.
In the opener, the Rangers were seeking to match the franchise-record 7-0 start of the 1996 club. But the defending AL champions fell behind 5-0 after three innings and never threatened to make up the difference.
“The first two innings they put the runs on the board,” Texas manager Ron Washington said, “and the kid did the rest.”
Colby Lewis (1-1) allowed five runs, four earned, in six innings to end a run of five straight wins by Texas starters.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)