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Beltre homers twice, drives in five as Rangers top Orioles

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The Canadian Press
7/9/2013 10:23:55 PM
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BALTIMORE -- The way Adrian Beltre has been hitting the baseball lately, it seems hard to imagine he recently endured 22 straight games without a home run.

Beltre went 4 for 4 with two homers and a season-high five RBIs to help the surging Texas Rangers beat the Baltimore Orioles 8-4 Tuesday night.

Beltre hit a solo shot in the second inning and a three-run drive in the fifth, both off Zach Britton (2-3). Beltre has six home runs in his last six games and is batting .488 (21 for 43) during an 11-game hitting streak that began on June 28.

He also singled in the fourth, received an intentional walk in the seventh and delivered an RBI single in the ninth. The two homers gave him 20 for the season and put him in a tie with teammate Lance Berkman for 74th on the career list with 366, according to the Rangers.

Before his current power surge, Beltre went from June 10 to July 3 without launching a ball out of the park. It was his longest home-run drought since he joined the Rangers in 2011.

"He's been hot and cold and he's picked it up again. He picked it up at the right time," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "When Adrian is getting it done it usually relaxes everybody else. That is what the big guy does in the middle of the lineup."

With Beltre leading the way, Texas has won 14 of 19 to move a season-high 16 games over .500 (53-37) -- tied for the second-best record in franchise history after 90 games. The Rangers have scored at least five runs in six straight games and have won four in a row on the road.

"We were having trouble driving in runs and all of a sudden Adrian started driving them in and everybody started relaxing," Washington said. "Now we're putting runs on the board. I hope it can continue."

Beltre said, "We all contribute some way or another. I think we are good as a group. There's not one guy who can say he's the main guy. I think everybody's contributing right now. There's a couple games that I'm contributing a lot better than I did before."

Manny Machado homered for the Orioles, who have lost six of eight. Baltimore is 3-12 in its last 15 regular-season games against Texas.

After going 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position in a loss to Texas on Monday, the Orioles were 2 for 7 in that situation on Tuesday. Their biggest problem on this night was containing Beltre.

"You know he's a good hitter, and then when you make bad pitches on top of that he's not going to miss them," manager Buck Showalter said.

Britton gave up five runs and eight hits in five innings. After the game, he was optioned along with reliever Kevin Gausman to Triple-A Norfolk. The corresponding moves will be announced Wednesday, with one of them being the activation of left-hander Wei-Yin Chen from the disabled list.

Martin Perez (3-1) allowed four runs, two earned, and six hits in six-plus innings for the Rangers. The left-hander is 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA in four starts since being recalled from Triple-A Round Rock on June 22.

"I can't finish the seventh inning but I'm happy what I'm doing tonight," Perez said.

Perez, who came in with a run of 17 straight scoreless innings, added to the total with a perfect first. But the streak ended in the second when the Orioles used singles by Matt Wieters, Nate McLouth and Brian Roberts to pull even at 1.

Machado hit a solo drive in the third, his seventh of the season and only the second since May 5.

Texas went up 5-2 in the fifth. After Nelson Cruz singled in a run, Beltre hit a shot into the left-field seats for his 25th career multihomer game.

"I was looking for a pitch up in the zone that I could drive, and that's what I got," he said.

The Orioles closed to 5-4 in their half of the fifth. Two botched grounders preceded a two-out, two-run single by J.J. Hardy.

The Rangers added two runs in seventh. Leonys Martin walked and scored on a double by Jurickson Profar, and A.J. Pierzynski hit an RBI single following an intentional walk to Beltre.

NOTES: Chen is slated to start Wednesday night. Texas will counter with right-hander Josh Lindblom, who will be making his first start since June 20. ... Texas RHP Colby Lewis threw live batting practice Tuesday in his bid to return from off-season surgery on his right arm. "Overall, I felt great," Lewis said, although he acknowledged he needs to improve his arm strength. ... Beltre has six HRs in his last 11 games at Camden Yards.

Adrian Beltre (Photo: Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
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