Texas powers past Orioles

Teixeira hits three of Rangers' six HRs

Cabrera again shaky

Rangers 15 Orioles 1

July 14, 2006|By JEFF ZREBIEC | JEFF ZREBIEC,SUN REPORTER

The Orioles are treating the start of baseball's second half as a new beginning, a chance to forget about all that ailed them for the first three months and focus on building momentum for an organization that is badly in need of it.

A three-day layoff, however, didn't magically cure the Orioles' myriad problems. It did, however, work wonders for Texas Rangers first baseman Mark Teixeira's home run swing.

Another erratic effort from starting pitcher Daniel Cabrera was followed by a meltdown from the Orioles' bullpen. Teixeira, the Mount St. Joseph alumnus, hit three of Texas' six home runs and knocked in seven runs in the Rangers' 15-1 thumping of the Orioles last night before 22,780 at Camden Yards.

Cabrera (4-7 ), who lost for the fifth time in six starts, persevered after a shaky first inning before imploding in Texas' six-run sixth , when the Rangers broke a 1-1 tie and sent 10 batters to the plate. The inning started with a bases-empty home run by Teixeira and included a two-run double from Brad Wilkerson off reliever Chris Britton and a three-run blast by Mark DeRosa (4-for-4), also off Britton.

Reliever Sendy Rleal surrendered a two-run shot to Wilkerson in the seventh and Bruce Chen served up a two-run shot to Teixeira in the eighth. Catcher Rod Barajas hit the Rangers' fifth home run of the night in the ninth off Chen, who then gave up Teixeira's third of the night. Teixeira, who hit the All-Star break with nine home runs a year after hitting 43 , now has four home runs in his past nine at-bats.

"He's a strong kid." Perlozzo said of Teixeira, a Severna Park native. "We'll hope that he got going for a day and he'll take the next couple of days off. If we pitch him a little better, we'll have more success."

Every Texas starter had at least one hit, and all but three of the Rangers' 19 hits came after the fifth inning. Cabrera allowed four runs on six hits and five walks through 5 1/3 innings. Meanwhile, the Orioles (41-50 ) managed just four hits, including Brandon Fahey's third-inning RBI single, in seven innings against Vicente Padilla.

"We didn't pitch." Perlozzo said. "That wasn't the way we wrote it up. We had ourselves a good ballgame and then the wheels came off."

After the All-Star break, the Orioles were supposed to have a workout yesterday afternoon, but it was canceled by a storm. Perlozzo did preside over a pre-game meeting to set some goals for his team, which ended a frustrating first half with two feel- good wins in Cleveland.

"It was good so that when we come back and we talk today a little bit, we can say on a positive note, "Let's go for short-range goals first," ' Perlozzo said. "And for me, a short-range goal is get to .500. Let's start there, let's battle our butts off and get to .500, and then we'll see where we are from there and take it for the rest of the season."

Perlozzo also warned his players not to let the trade rumors that will inevitably surface about several Orioles before the July 31 trade deadline serve as a distraction.

"I want us to go in there saying what we have is what we have for right now, and let's play as hard as we can and win as many as we can." Perlozzo said. "If we do it well enough, we'll see what happens, without disappointment. I feel like we're on the verge of putting a nice winning streak together, not necessarily 10 in a row but maybe a 10-2 run or 8-3."

In order for that to happen, the Orioles will need to get better pitching over the second half. Orioles' starters entered last night with a 5.61 ERA, the second-highest in the American League.

Cabrera has certainly contributed to the team's bloated ERA. Despite missing three weeks while on the disabled list, Cabrera entered last night leading the American League with 70 walks and 13 wild pitches.

Winless since June 10 , Cabrera began the second half by picking up where he left off. He hit the first batter he faced last night, All-Star center fielder and former Oriole Gary Matthews, in the lower back with a fastball. The second, DeRosa, walked on four pitches. Two batters into the second half, Cabrera already had Brian Roberts and Melvin Mora at the mound, encouraging the right-hander to settle down.

Cabrera got All-Star game Most Valuable Player Michael Young to hit into a fielder's choice for the first out. Teixeira then gave the Rangers a lead with a sacrifice fly to right.

"I don't know what's wrong." Cabrera said. "I didn't feel tired. Nothing is working. I am trying to make pitches and nothing is working."

The Orioles tied the game at one in the third, as left fielder Fahey brought home fellow rookie Nick Markakis with a single to center. Markakis, who got on with a leadoff double, made a headfirst slide into home to beat the throw by Matthews and the tag by Barajas.

Cabrera settled down and got some key defensive work to keep the game tied. Fahey made a fearless catch in foul territory for the first out of the fifth, sticking his glove just over the rail in left and making the play before his momentum nearly carried him into the stands. After a singe by DeRosa, Cabrera then got out of the inning by getting Young to hit into a double play, started on a nifty turn by second baseman Brian Roberts.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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