Orioles aim to extend streak versus Rangers

The Baltimore Orioles have already won five straight games against two of the American League's best team. Now they get a chance to extend their streak against the two-time defending American League champions this evening when they start a four-game series versus the Texas Rangers at Camden Yards.

After winning the final two games of their set with the New York Yankees, the Orioles won three straight from the Boston Red Sox and at 19-9 now own the AL's best record.

The Orioles needed almost two games to complete the sweep on Sunday, as Adam Jones hit a three-run homer off of Darnell McDonald in the top of the 17th inning and Baltimore earned a 9-6 win.

McDonald (0-1), an outfielder, entered the game as a pinch-runner in the eighth inning and scored the tying run, then took the mound in the 17th in support of a spent Red Sox bullpen.

"I really focused on just trying to come in and throw strikes," McDonald said. "Our bullpen has been doing a heck of a job for us and you want to come in and pick them up, but unfortunately we weren't able to do it today."

Baltimore, which has won 11 of 13 overall, took advantage. J.J. Hardy doubled and Nick Markakis walked in front of Jones, who belted a 1-1 offering high over the wall in left.

Chris Davis (1-0) went 0-for-8 with five strikeouts as a designated hitter before tossing two scoreless innings of relief to earn the first win of his career.

"I'd like to see somebody top that one team-wise," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Davis' effort on the mound. "I think everybody made a contribution. Davis had about as bad of a day as you can have at the plate, but ended up being the star of the game. It's hard to believe."

Tonight, left-hander Brian Matusz tries to win back-to-back starts for the first time since 2010. Matusz won for the first time this season on Tuesday in New York, as he held the Yankees to a run and six hits in 6 1/3 innings, running his record to 1-3 to go along with a 4.67 ERA.

"Game by game, I'm feeling like I'm getting better and better, being able to make those pitches and get out of an inning and not letting things escalate," Matusz said. "It feels good to be able to go out there and attack the zone with confidence, to be able to come away with it."

Matusz is 2-1 with a 6.64 ERA in four starts versus the Rangers.

Texas, meanwhile, will counter with lefty Matt Harrison, who has been banged around in his last two starts, both losses. Harrison was hammered by Toronto on Wednesday, surrendering eight runs and eight hits in 3 1/3 innings, dropping him to 3-2, while skyrocketing his ERA to a team-high 5.40.

Harrison, who is 3-0 lifetime against the Orioles, began his season 3-0 with a 1.66 ERA but has given up 14 earned runs in 8 1/3 innings of his last two starts.

The Rangers will be trying to regroup tonight after dropping two of three to the Cleveland Indians, including a 4-2 setback in Sunday's rubber match at Progressive Field.

Yu Darvish (4-1) struck out 11 in his first loss of the season but gave up four runs -- three earned -- on six hits and four walks in six innings. The 25-year-old Japanese right-hander had been unbeaten with a 2.18 earned run average in his first five MLB starts. He now has 44 strikeouts in 39 innings.

"He threw well enough to keep us in the ball game. We just didn't support him with any runs today," Texas manager Ron Washington said about Darvish.

Texas has now lost four of five.

The Rangers won their final five meetings with the Orioles last season, scoring 13 runs three times over that span.