Ryan Dempster tossed eight strong innings to lead the Texas Rangers past the Baltimore Orioles, 5-1, in the opener of a three-game series.
Dempster (7-6) allowed one run on four hits and two walks while striking out six. Joe Nathan tossed a perfect ninth to close out the game for Texas, which has won four of its last five.
"Your objective is always the same thing and that is to execute pitches no matter what the score is," Dempster said. "But any time that you are ahead in games like that and you have a little bit of cushion, when you get behind in the count you feel like you can maybe challenge a little bit more because a solo home run doesn't hurt you."
David Murphy had a pair of hits, two RBI and a run scored in the victory.
Miguel Gonzalez (5-3) surrendered four runs on eight hits and three walks through five innings for the Orioles, who had their two-game win streak snapped.
Adam Jones collected a pair of hits while knocking in Baltimore's lone run.
"He's not blowing it by you, but he knows what he's doing. He kept the ball down and kept the ball off the barrel," Jones said about Dempster. "He did what he wanted to do."
Baltimore took the early lead in the top of the first inning after Nate McLouth hit a two-out double off the wall in right field and came home on Jones' bloop single just over the glove of first baseman Mitch Moreland.
After the Orioles failed to add to their lead by stranding a runner on second in both the third and fourth innings, Texas went on top in the home fourth when Adrian Beltre hit a leadoff single, advanced to second on a Nelson Cruz walk and came home on Murphy's two-out single to left field.
Geovany Soto then singled in Cruz before Moreland's infield single loaded the bases, but the Rangers would plate just one more run on Ian Kinsler's sacrifice fly to deep right-center field as Elvis Andrus grounded out to short to keep it a 3-1 game.
Texas added to its lead in the fifth as Josh Hamilton led off the frame with a single and rounded the bases two batters later on Cruz's double into the left- center field gap.
Michael Young legged out a double to start the eighth and scored on a Murphy single to account for the final margin.
Dempster improved to 1-0 in two career starts against Baltimore ... Gonzalez had his three-decision win streak snapped. It was his first loss since July 25 ... Texas leads the season series between the teams, 4-1, and is 9-2 against the Orioles since the start of last season.