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Second place clubs collide in Baltimore

Two of the American League's second-place teams open a four-game series at Camden Yards on Monday night when the West Division's Texas Rangers visit the East Division's Baltimore Orioles.

The Rangers, who reached the World Series in both 2010 and 2011, now find themselves sitting a half-game back of the front-running Oakland Athletics, while the Orioles are five games behind the Boston Red Sox.

Texas will start lefty Derek Holland, who's gone three starts without a loss since a brief two-start skid in mid-June.

The 26-year-old Ohio native won five of his initial seven decisions of 2013 before that interlude, which saw the Rangers drop a 5-2 decision to Cleveland and a 7-2 verdict to Toronto.

In three starts since - in which the Rangers have won twice - Holland has allowed six runs on 11 hits in 22 innings against St. Louis, the New York Yankees and Seattle.

Holland is 3-1 in five career meetings with the Orioles, while posting a 3.55 earned run average and striking out 24 batters in 25 1/3 innings.

For Baltimore, righty Scott Feldman makes his second start against the Rangers, for whom he made 204 major-league outings through the end of last season.

The 6-foot-7 Hawaiian signed a one-year, $6 million free agent deal with the Chicago Cubs in November and began 2013 with seven wins in 15 starts through June 26.

He was dealt to the Orioles on July 2 as part of a four-player trade and debuted with his new team a day later, allowing two runs in six innings of Baltimore's 4-2 defeat of the Chicago White Sox.

Feldman made his lone career appearance against the Rangers while with the Cubs on May 6, tossing seven scoreless innings of two-hit ball in a 9-2 Chicago triumph.

On Sunday in Texas, Nelson Cruz delivered a tie-breaking RBI single in the fifth inning and the Rangers bullpen kept the Houston Astros off the board the rest of the way to earn a 5-4 decision in the rubber match of a three-game series between the AL West foes.

Cruz's hit off Houston starter Erik Bedard snapped a 4-4 deadlock, and five Texas relievers combined for a scoreless inning apiece to protect the one-run lead.

Cory Burns (1-0), recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City earlier in the day, registered his first major league victory by working out of a jam in the top of the fifth, while Joe Nathan retired the side in order in the ninth for the All-Star closer's 29th save of the season.

The Rangers also received a pair of homers, a three-run blast from A.J. Pierzynski and a solo shot by Adrian Beltre, in the triumph.

In New York, Adam Jones belted a two-run homer off fellow AL All-Star Mariano Rivera in the top of the ninth inning to lift the Orioles to a 2-1 road victory over the Yankees.

The Orioles were two outs away from being dealt a three-game sweep at the hands of their division rivals when Nick Markakis singled to put the tying run on base. Jones then swatted a second-pitch cutter from Rivera (1-2) into the visiting bullpen to hand the legendary closer only his second blown save in 31 chances this season.

Darren O'Day (5-0) received the win after retiring both batters he faced in the bottom of the eighth, while Jim Johnson bounced back from a blown save in Friday's opener to strike out two during a perfect bottom of the inning and close things out.

"It's off the greatest closer in the history of the game. I'll always remember it," said Jones.

Markakis finished 3-for-4 for Baltimore, which wrapped up a six-game road trip at 2-4 after taking all three meetings with the Yankees at Camden Yards the previous weekend.

The Rangers won five of seven games with the Orioles in 2012 and five of six between the teams in 2011. Baltimore last won the season series, 6-4, in 2010.

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