BALTIMORE (AP) — Ross Wolf did his part, limiting the Baltimore Orioles to just three hits over six innings.
Unfortunately for the Texas Rangers, their offense couldn’t back up his noteworthy performance in a 3-1 defeat Thursday night.
Texas couldn’t have asked for much more from Wolf, who got the start after Yu Darvish was placed on the 15-day disabled list with an upper back strain. Wolf (1-2) gave up two runs, walked one and struck out three.
“I’m very happy with him. He did what his job was today — he kept us in the ballgame,” manager Ron Washington said. “That’s all you can ask from a guy that’s sitting down there and gets a chance to pitch when you need him. We needed him today and he gave us what we needed out of him. We just didn’t put enough runs on the board.”
Ian Kinsler homered and Mitch Moreland had three hits for the Rangers, who scored only one run in each of the final two games of the series. Adrian Beltre went 1 for 4 to extend his hitting streak to 13 games.
Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez (7-3) allowed one run, four hits and two walks in 6 2-3 innings to improve to 5-0 at home this year. Baltimore has won each of the last 12 games he’s started at Camden Yards.
“I think he threw the ball well,” Kinsler said. “We just didn’t have a good offensive night.”
Kinsler, like Washington, appreciated Wolf’s effort.
“He picked us up huge tonight,” Kinsler said. “I think they were only planning on him going four. He made it through six and he didn’t really even use a lot of pitches. I think that’s going to wear him out a little bit, he’s probably going to need a little rest, but that was big for us and big for our bullpen.”
After Nate McLouth singled in a run for Baltimore in the eighth, Jim Johnson got three outs for his 31st save in 37 opportunities.
Wolf hadn’t allowed a homer all season until Chris Davis and Brian Roberts both went deep in a span four batters. Davis put the Orioles up 1-0 with his major league-leading 34th home run, and Roberts led off the third with his second homer of the year.
“Davis, threw him a changeup. It was right down the middle,” Wolf said. “Roberts was a little better pitch. It was fastball down and in, it was supposed to be away. I just missed the spot and it’s (in) his happy zone. Made a mistake and paid for it.”
The drive ended an 0-for-17 skid for Davis and enabled the former Ranger to reach career highs in homers and RBIs (86).
“I was just glad to get a hit,” Davis said. “Got tired of striking out and grounding out and breaking bats. Kind of went on long enough.”
After the home run, he struck out twice and is now in a 2-for-27 funk. But does it really matter?
“I talked about trying to be a little more patient, little bit more selective,” he said. “And of course after I hit the home run I go back to swinging at everything. Some lessons are harder to learn than others.”
Besides the homers by Davis and Roberts, the only other hit off Wolf was a leadoff single by Matt Wieters in the fifth. He was promptly wiped out by a 6-4-3 double play in which shortstop Elvis Andrus went deep in the hole before flipping the ball to second from his glove.
The Rangers had just one runner through the first four innings and managed only two hits through the fifth — both of them singles by Moreland.
Kinsler homered to lead off the sixth and Nelson Cruz singled with one out before Beltre hit into a double play.
Texas got a runner on second with no outs in the eighth before Darren O’Day quelled the threat.
“You got to credit to O’Day,” Washington said. “He made the pitches that he had to make. He got the guys he had to get out, and that’s the way it goes.”
(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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