Josh Hamilton didn’t homer in Game 1, but he drilled a two-run shot off Tommy Hunter in the first inning of Game 2.
Hamilton’s ball landed on Eutaw St., the first time in his career that he’s cleared the flag court. It’s now happened 60 times in Camden Yards history.
Hunter gave up two hits and walked a batter in the first inning.
Showalter had to rush through his session with the media following the 6-5 victory in Game 1. These straight doubleheaders are brutal.
Showalter twice called Wei-Yin Chen “a difference-maker” after the Taiwanese left-hander worked 7 2/3 innings.
“Wei-Yin was a difference-maker today to get that deep in the game, and against obviously a good lineup,” Showalter said. “He was outstanding. He was sharp with his breaking ball, the extra days’ rest. It seems like he had a little bit more finish on his fastball. He was a difference-maker for us today, and it won’t be forgotten.
“We’re still learning about him. Considering the competition and the need, it certainly seemed pretty crisp for us.”
You had to wonder what Chen was thinking while the Rangers were scoring 24 runs in the first two games of this series.
“I thought about that too, but you’ve got to look at that kind of like you’re playing with house money,” Showalter said. “Everyone expects you to be challenged by those types of lineups. And Tommy will here too, shortly, but what are you going to do? Are you going to pull the dirt in around you or are you going to compete? And he competed.
“I think the thing I was most proud of, other than his pitching effort, was Robert Andino being on second on an infield pop-up. Those are the things that allow me to sleep at night.”
The first three Orioles homered off Colby Lewis in the first inning, making them the only American League team to accomplish the feat.
“I’ve known Colby for a long time,” Showalter said. “I knew it was only a matter of time before he settled in. We were fortunate to take advantage of it early. We didn’t mount much after that. Sometimes you get that with the first game of a doubleheader. Our guys put some good swings on some mistakes. We’ve done a few things this year that first time, a first for me, but I thought the tack-on runs after the home runs were even bigger.”
The weirdness continues for the Orioles, who seem to break or match records dating back to 1918 every time they take the field within the last week.
“Nothing surprises me when you’re dealing with this level of skill,” Showalter said. “These are the best players in the world, but they’re also human beings who are susceptible to things and capable of doing great things. It’s always an honor to sit there and watch them. There’s not a day that goes by that something doesn’t happen. Sometimes, it may be in the locker room and I’ll say I haven’t seen that or heard that before. A couple of them before this game trying to get this roster set.”
Update: The Orioles scored three unearned runs on three Texas errors in the second inning to take a 3-2 lead, and the Rangers easily could have been charged with four.
Shortstop Elvis Andrus misplayed Steve Tolleson’s bouncer and made a wild throw to first, allowing the tying run to score. Earlier in the inning, second baseman Ian Kinsler turned an apparent 4-6-3 double play grounder from Matt Wieters into an E-4. And Hamilton’s wild throw from center field after he caught Luis Exposito’s fly ball allowed the go-ahead run to score.
Hunter has retired 11 in a row as we head to the bottom of the fourth.
Update II: The Rangers scored twice in the top of the fifth to take a 4-3 lead.
Nelson Cruz led off with a double and scored on Mike Napoli’s triple, the ball eluding a diving Nick Markakis in right field. Hunter retired the next two batters as Napoli held at third, but Andrus singled into center field to break the tie.
Andrus has reached base in 28 straight games.
Exposito just singled leading off the bottom of the fifth for his first major league hit.
Update III: Matt Lindstrom hadn’t allowed an earned run in 13 innings before tonight. He gave up two in the seventh inning, plus an unearned run, as the Rangers increased their lead to 7-3.
Tolleson made two nice plays at third base earlier in the game, but he committed an error on Adrian Beltre’s sharp bouncer.
Hunter went six innings and threw 91 pitches on three days’ rest. He allowed four runs and five hits, walked one and struck out seven.