ARLINGTON (AP) — Nick Markakis is considered one of the best players for the Baltimore Orioles, even if he isn’t one of their five All-Stars.
Markakis had an RBI double and saved a run with a home run-robbing catch for the Orioles in a 3-1 victory over the Texas Rangers on Friday night.
“That was a great play. … He had a big part in the game tonight,” said Nate McLouth, who had an RBI double for the Orioles. “As far as right fielders, he’s about as good as they come. He can swing the bat a little, too.”
Matt Wieters homered and Wei-Yin Chen (5-3) pitched into the seventh inning as the Orioles gave Buck Showalter his 250th victory since being hired by the team in July 2010.
Showalter joined Joe Torre, Gene Mauch and Dick Williams as the only major league managers to win 250 games with at least four different teams. Showalter won more than 250 games with the New York Yankees (1992-95), Arizona (1998-2000) and Texas (2003-06), where he was replaced by current Rangers manager Ron Washington.
“You had to mention four different teams. Count the losses, I probably have as many of them,” Showalter said. “Been fortunate to have good players. Tonight was a good example of that.”
Baltimore never trailed after Wieters’ 13th homer, a solo shot in the second. After No. 9 hitter Brian Roberts walked to lead off the third, he scored on McLouth’s double for a 2-0 lead.
The run-saving grab by right fielder Markakis came when Adrian Beltre led off the Texas fourth. Markakis leaped and stuck his glove above the 8-foot wall to make the catch.
“I feel Beltre’s pain, but it was a great play by Nick,” All-Star shortstop J.J. Hardy said. “(Markakis) has been the guy for eight years and never been an All-Star. We all recognize it and I think the fans do too.”
Left-hander Chen allowed only one run and eight hits and two walks over 6 1-3 innings. Jim Johnson worked the ninth for his majors-best 34th save even after allowing a hit and hitting a batter.
Rangers left-hander Derek Holland (8-5) allowed three runs and six hits in an eight-inning span when he threw 119 pitches. He struck out six and walked three.
“I thought he threw the ball extremely well. He certainly threw it well enough that on any other night he might have got a victory,” said manager Ron Washington, who visited Holland on the mound in the eighth. “When I went out there, I was just going out there to see how he felt.”
Orioles’ All-Star slugger Chris Davis, the major league leader with 37 home runs, was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. The Texas native traded to Baltimore from the Rangers nearly two years ago did have a nice play at first base when he reached into the seats to catch Beltre’s foul pop leading off the eighth.
Manny Machado reached on a two-out infield single in the fifth and scored on the double by Markakis, the seventh overall draft pick by Baltimore in 2003.
Jeff Baker and Craig Gentry both returned to the Texas lineup after being activated from the disabled list, and produced the Rangers run.
Baker had two hits and was involved in usual plays while running the bases after both.
After his single in the fourth, Mitch Moreland drew a walk. Baker was jogging toward second base when Chen has his head down kicking dirt on the front of the mound and All-Star third baseman Machado was way off his base and not watching. So Baker took off for the third, and was credited with a stolen base before scoring on Gentry’s sacrifice fly.
“As soon as I saw him put his head down, I just went and I was able to get in there pretty easy,” Baker said. “I probably get one a year. You don’t have to be really fast to be a good base runner.”
Baker was at first after a leadoff single in the sixth when Gentry doubled into the right-center field gap. Baker was already rounding third base hard with coach Gary Pettis waving him home before the coach suddenly threw up a stop sign. Baker tried to scamper back but was thrown out on an 8-6-5 play.
” I see him waving me,” Baker said. “Then I hit the bag, then I see him put up the stop sign and I tried to get back the best I could and they had me.”
Notes: Texas has lost five of its past six games. … It was the third straight year Holland started the Rangers’ first game after the All-Star break. He pitched 16 2-3 scoreless innings winning the previous two. … In three regular-season games as an opponent at Rangers Ballpark, Davis is 1 for 12 with seven strikeouts.
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