The Orioles have good memories of their last Texas trip

The Orioles begin a series in Texas tonight against the Rangers. The Orioles really enjoyed their last visit to Arlington.

They swept four straight, July 8-11 last year right before the All-Star break, from a Rangers team that would go on to win the American League. They won by scores of 6-4, 7-6, 6-1 and 4-1.

This was the Orioles’ first four-game sweep at Texas in 34 years, since June of 1976 and their first four-game road sweep of any kind since 1995.

The players that drove in the runs in that Sunday’s 4-1 win in that series to complete the sweep don’t play for the Orioles anymore, as Julio Lugo had an RBI double, Corey Patterson a two-run double and Miguel Tejada a solo homer.

The Orioles went to Texas with a record of 25-59 before that sweep. They wound up 6-4 last year against Texas.

This year’s Orioles hit the 81-game mark Sunday with a record of 36-45. They have lost eight of their last 11 and are just 6-14 over the past 20 games.

We will see if Nick Markakis can keep his bat sizzling in Texas. He went 5-for-5 yesterday in Atlanta and 8-for-10 in the last two games of that series. Markakis has seven multi-hit games over his last eight contests and is batting .528 (19-for-46) in that stretch. He is hitting .436 over his last 22 games.

Buck Showalter returns to Texas tonight. He managed the Rangers between 2003 and 2006 winning 71, 89, 79 and 80 games. Current Texas manager Ron Washington replaced him before the 2007 season.

In the minors: Triple-A third baseman Josh Bell, the O’s minor league homer leader with 13, remains day-to-day with a left knee injury but remains off the disabled list.

Bowie infielder Brandon Waring is also listed as day-to-day with a slight quad strain.

Bowie’s Billy Rowell, out since June 22 with an ankle injury, is at least two weeks away from a return to the roster. He is batting .227 in 41 games.

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