Smith’s homer lifts Orioles to win over Rangers
BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Orioles are desperately trying to salvage their season.
They finally got a boost of confidence against the Texas Rangers, who are also fighting to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Seth Smith hit a go-ahead home run in the seventh inning, and the Orioles snapped a three-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory over the Rangers on Monday night.
“We need a lot of wins,” Smith said. “So, tonight was a good one to win, but we need to start stringing them together.”
Smith gave the Orioles a 2-1 lead on a solo homer to center field off Texas right-hander Andrew Cashner. It was Baltimore’s first lead in 33 innings since the All-Star break after it was outscored 18-3 in its previous two games.
Following Smith’s 10th home run, Welington Castillo doubled. Jeremy Jeffress entered for Texas and allowed an RBI single to Ruben Tejada.
Baltimore’s Chris Tillman, making his first start since June 30 after spending time on the paternity list due to the birth of his first child, had one of his best outings in a disappointing season.
Tillman allowed just one run and two hits with three strikeouts and four walks over six innings.
He still has not earned a win since May 7.
“Obviously had a lot of rest,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “That’s tough, managing that. Almost took him out after five, really wanted to come out with some positive feelings about it. We were going to go hitter to hitter in the sixth. You don’t go normal with him after that much time off. But hopefully he and the rest of his staff can build on that, that’s the type of outing we are going to need.”
Richard Bleier (2-1) earned the victory with a scoreless seventh inning. Mychal Givens handled the eighth, and Brad Brach worked out of a jam in the ninth to pick up his 16th save.
Cashner (4-8) made his second start since being struck on the right forearm by a broken bat June 29 against Cleveland. He has not shown any ill-effects from that injury, and he was effective against Baltimore, allowing three runs and six hits with three strikeouts and two walks over 6 2/3 innings.
“(Cashner) continues to improve every outing,” Texas manager Jeff Banister said. “I thought he had an excellent sinker, cutter combo tonight.”
Texas took a 1-0 lead off Tillman in the second inning on a two-out, RBI by double by Jonathan Lucroy, who was thrown out trying to take third. The Orioles tied the game in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Jonathan Schoop.
“He was throwing a lot of pitches,” Lucroy said of Tillman. “We made him work. It was just we just couldn’t string hits together. I think we had a down night as an offense, but I expect that to change. We’re too good offensively.”
The Orioles (43-49) desperately needed a solid performance after being swept by the Chicago Cubs over the weekend.
“The guys have been working,” Tillman said. “It’s not for lack of trying. We need to get on a roll.”
Even though the Houston Astros appear to be running away with the American League West, the Rangers (45-47) are very much alive in the wild-card race. They lost for just the third time in eight games.
“Tillman did a good job against our guys tonight,” Banister said. “We were challenged to get much offense off of him.”
NOTES: Orioles RHP Stefan Crichton (right shoulder strain) was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list and optioned to Triple-A Norfolk. ... Texas RHP Keone Kela (right shoulder tightness) will throw a bullpen session Tuesday, according to manager Jeff Banister. If there are no setbacks, the Rangers could activate him or send him for another rehab appearance Thursday. ... Baltimore RHP Mike Wright (right shoulder bursitis) allowed four runs and five hits in two-thirds of an inning in a rehab outing in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League