Orioles, Rangers bring hot streaks to 3-game series

May 26 – Two of baseball’s biggest surprises lie this weekend when the Baltimore Orioles open a three-game series against the Texas Rangers on Friday.

The Rangers, coming off their sixth straight losing season, have won five of their last six games to improve to 31-18. They are three games ahead of the defending World Series champion Houston Astros atop the American League West.

“This is close to what I expected,” Texas manager Bruce Bochy said. “I wanted us to get off to a good start. I thought that was important.”

The Rangers were off Thursday after taking two of three games against the Pittsburgh Pirates to open a nine-game road trip that concludes with a three-game series against the Tigers.

The Orioles, who posted their first winning season since 2016 last year, were expected to compete for a wild card. However, after sweeping the host Toronto Blue Jays in three games and then winning two of three against the host New York Yankees, the Orioles are 33-17, their best start in 50 games since 1997 (35-15).

They have the second-best record in the majors, trailing only the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays (37-15).

“It’s been great, and we’ve had a chance to win night after night,” Baltimore outfielder Austin Hays said.

The Orioles are coming off a 3-1 victory over the Yankees in the clincher of a three-game series on Thursday.

Kyle Gibson allowed just two singles in seven scoreless innings. Anthony Santander and Hays provided the big hits with an RBI single in the fifth and a two-run double in the eighth, respectively. Santander went 3-3 with a walk.

“This was a great series win, and that’s it (Friday),” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said.

Baltimore won two of three against the Rangers in the teams’ first meeting of the season, winning the opener 2–0 on April 3 before going on to a 7–2 victory in the second meeting. Texas avoided the sweep with a 5-2 victory that was its first win over the Orioles in nine games.

The Orioles will give the ball over Friday to rookie Grayson Rodriguez (2-1, 6.21 ERA), who is coming off a solid outing in his last start. The right-hander allowed two runs and four hits with six strikeouts and one walk in five innings during a no-decision game in Toronto on Saturday.

Rodriguez, who hasn’t lasted more than 5 2/3 innings in an outing, made his major league debut against the Rangers on April 5. He was not involved in the decision after allowing two runs on four hits with five strikeouts and a walk in five innings.

Texas right-hander Jon Gray (4-1, 3.02), who will start Friday, pitched well against the Orioles the last time he faced them. Gray took over for the loss despite allowing just two runs on four hits with seven strikeouts and two walks in 6 1/3 innings during a 2–0 loss on April 3.

In three career starts against Baltimore, Gray is 1-2 with a 3.68 ERA.

Gray was strong Saturday, allowing just one run and five hits with six strikeouts and two walks in five innings of an 11-5 win over the visiting Colorado Rockies.

–Field level media

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