BALTIMORE -- The Rangers' six-game winning streak came to a halt in a 5-0 loss in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Orioles on Saturday evening at Camden Yards.The loss kept the Rangers from matching a seven-game winning streak in 1996 for the longest in club history to start the season. The Rangers also won six in a row to begin the 1979 season. The club rallied in the nightcap on Saturday, pounding 13 hits in a 13-3 win over the Orioles.
"It's always disappointing when you lose," manager Ron Washington said between the two games. "We got beat, though. I wouldn't say we lost it, they just beat us."Starter Colby Lewis, struggling with command of his fastball from the beginning, got off to a bad start and the Rangers could not recover. He allowed five runs in the first three innings, while the Rangers didn't get a hit until the fifth inning against Orioles starter Zach Britton. Britton was making just his second Major League start but is now 2-0 with a 0.66 ERA since joining the Orioles' rotation after Brian Matusz was placed on the disabled list. He was a third-round pick in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft from Weatherford (Texas) High just outside Fort Worth. The Orioles took him three picks before the Rangers selected Chad Tracy out of Pepperdine. The Rangers took left-hander Kasey Kiker in the first round and forfeited their second-round pick to the Indians as compensation for signing free-agent pitcher Kevin Millwood. "It doesn't really matter who we are facing," Britton said. "My job today was to go out there and give us a lot of innings because we have a doubleheader. So just save the bullpen. My job going in was to go as deep as I can, and that's what my mindset was. Just keep us in the game and log innings." Lewis trailed early as he gave up a 1-0 home run to Nick Markakis in the first inning. After Luke Scott led off the second with a single and Adam Jones reached on first baseman Mike Napoli's error, Mark Reynolds smashed a three-run home run to left field. "Markakis hit an inside fastball," Lewis said. "I thought it was a good pitch. Same thing with Reynolds. I didn't get the run on my sinker. I didn't think it was that bad of a pitch, but it stayed straight and went into the seats. "Early in the game, I don't think I commanded my fastball well. When I command the fastball well, everything works off that. Later, it kind of came around, but my other pitches kept them off balance." Reynolds' home run made it 4-0 and the Orioles added another in the third when Vladimir Guerrero singled with two outs, Scott walked and Jones grounded a single to center to drive home the run. "After that, [Lewis] started settling down and making good pitches," Washington said. "But they put some runs on the board early and their kid did the rest. He had his good sinker going. He got the ground balls. When we squared up some balls, somebody was right there. But we didn't square many up." Britton allowed just two walks before Nelson Cruz grounded a single through the right side. Britton immediately turned around and got Napoli to hit into an inning-ending double play. Yorvit Torrealba led off the fifth with a double to left-center and advanced to third on Julio Borbon's slow bouncer to second. But Britton got Ian Kinsler on a liner to first baseman Derrek Lee and Elvis Andrus on a grounder to short to keep the Rangers from scoring. Lewis ended up going six innings and allowed just one hit and one hit batter over the last 11 batters he faced. However, the loss snapped a five-game winning streak by the Rangers' rotation and Lewis is 1-1 with a 5.25 ERA after two starts. The Rangers hit into three double plays, including two by Adrian Beltre. The Rangers' cleanup hitter was 0-for-4 for the game and entered the nightcap hitting 3-for-28 on the season. He went 3-for-5 with a home run in the late game and is now hitting 6-for-33.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.