PIKESVILLE, Md.--It’s truly amazing. Every time the O’s struggle during play, they come right back at you.
Watching just that first pitch of Friday night’s game, when Nate McLouth hit a sharp liner to Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland, set the tone of that game. Some O’s fans also helped greatly for their support by coming from all around the country to watch them play. It’s not easy coming to a ballpark filled with the home team fans.
The most unlikely heroes showed up in the visiting dugout at Rangers Park. Like Joe Saunders. He has a horrible pitching resume in Texas (0-6), but was strong Friday night. But Texas pitcher Yu Darvish was also on his game. Not his A+ game, but his good game. The Rangers also looked sharp with batting and defense, but not quite as sharp as the O’s.
Early in the game, Saunders already looked like his usual self in Texas, giving up a leadoff walk and a hit-and-run single to put runners on the corners. It looked like the perfect time for Rangers’ All Star outfielder Josh Hamilton to break out of his slump. Instead, he grounded into a double play while Ian Kinsler scored from third base, making it one to one.
After that, it was all O’s. Saunders pitched well for the next four and 2/3rds innings. He would have liked a quality start at Rangers Park, which he was one out away from, but at this point he was willing to do anything to help the team. The O’s were hitting the ball hard in the beginning, but right at Rangers’ fielders. As the game progressed, those hard hit balls were finding holes, leading to RBI base hits.
Together, the O’s stunned the Rangers in front of an announced crowd of 46,931. Now the magic train heads back to Baltimore for probably the biggest series of the year against the longtime rival New York Yankees.