(AP) — The Baltimore Orioles had rarely lost at home in June and Texas had seldom succeeded at Camden Yards of late entering this four-game series, but the Rangers broke out in a big way in the opener.
Looking to add to their major league-high 24 road wins Tuesday night, the Rangers could potentially have Josh Hamilton back in the lineup.
Mitch Moreland hit two home runs, Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Corporan also homered, and Joey Gallo had a three-run triple in Texas’ 8-1 win on Monday.
The Rangers (39-38), who had lost six straight at Baltimore (41-35), had averaged just 2.5 runs during a 2-8 stretch entering this series. But they had few issues offensively against an Orioles team that had outscored opponents 74-25 while winning 10 of its first 11 at Camden Yards in June.
“It seemed that every inning we had something going on,” Moreland said after Texas won for just the fourth time in its last 11 on the road. “The kind of game you want to lead a series off with. A pretty complete game.”
Hamilton was held out Monday, but on the final day of June he could return from a hamstring injury that’s kept him out since the last day in May. He went 6 for 22 with two homers and two doubles in his first seven games back with Texas.
“I want to be back and I want to play and want to play every day,” Hamilton told MLB’s official website.
Colby Lewis (7-3, 4.10 ERA) hopes to be the beneficiary of another impressive offensive showing Tuesday.
Since yielding 10 runs in his last start in May, Lewis is 3-0 with a 3.09 ERA in June. The right-hander’s Thursday outing against Oakland was his shortest of the month, as he gave up three runs in six innings of Texas’ 6-3 loss.
He’s gone 15 innings and allowed only four runs in his two road starts this month.
Lewis will be opposed by Miguel Gonzalez (6-4, 3.58), who will make his second start since returning from a DL stint due to a groin strain. The right-hander wasn’t particularly sharp Thursday at Boston, allowing four runs in five innings, but got credit for the 8-6 victory.
“I felt really good,” Gonzalez said. “My command was good. I felt today with two strikes I was around the zone a little too much, but that’s a part of the game. I want to be out there and attack the zone.”
Gonzalez is 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA in six home starts, holding opponents to a .186 average. He last faced the Rangers in 2013, limiting Texas to a run over 6 2-3 innings in each of two victories.
Hamilton is 1 for 11 with five strikeouts against Gonzalez.
The Orioles have won their previous seven series but dropped the opener only once. Monday’s game was their first without a home run in their last five as they lost for just the second time in their last 13 games against Texas.
The Rangers didn’t do much to slow down Manny Machado, though. The 22-year-old doubled to extend his hitting streak to 11 games, during which he’s batting .426 with 10 RBIs.