Skidding Rangers fall to Orioles 8-3

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BALTIMORE (AP) - The rookie pitcher yielded a career-high three home runs and didn’t get past the fifth inning. The veteran shortstop botched a grounder, paving the way for a four-run inning that all but decided the issue.

Just another bad night for the Texas Rangers - one of many in recent weeks.

Nelson Cruz hit his 26th home run, and Steve Pearce and Caleb Joseph also went deep against Nick Martinez as the Baltimore Orioles cruised past the Rangers for an 8-3 victory Tuesday night.

Martinez (1-6) gave up eight runs, six earned, and seven hits in five innings. The right-hander is 0-5 with an 8.10 ERA in seven starts since earning his lone career win at Detroit on May 24.

“I feel like I pitched better than what it showed,” Martinez said.

The numbers might have been better if not for a miscue by shortstop Elvis Andrus. Holding a 4-2 lead in the fourth, Baltimore loaded the bases with one out when Joseph hit a potential double-play grounder. Andrus fumbled the ball, letting in a run. Nick Markakis followed with a two-run double and Pearce hit a sacrifice fly.

“That’s just a matter of trying to get the double play before you secure the ball,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “It happens. We wish it wouldn’t happen, but it does.”

Andrus said, “No excuse about it. I have to make that play.”

The Rangers (37-46) have lost 11 of 13 overall to fall nine games under .500 for the first time since they were 9-18 on April 29, 2008. Texas has dropped seven straight on the road, its longest such skid in six seasons.

“It’s always tough when you don’t win,” Washington said. “But you find out what you’re made of. I believe in those guys in the clubhouse, and we’ll just keep fighting. That’s all we can do.”

T.J. McFarland (1-1) allowed two runs in a career-high five innings to win his second career start compared to 51 relief appearances.

For the second game in a row, Baltimore homered twice in the first inning. Pearce hit a liner in front of the left-field foul pole that glanced off the glove of Shin-Soo Choo and dropped over the wall. One out later, Cruz smacked a 1-1 pitch over the center-field wall.

Texas pulled even in the second when Adam Rosales hit a two-run double in his first at-bat of the season. In the bottom half, Joseph drove a 3-1 pitch into the front row of the left-field seats with a man on for a 4-2 lead.

The Orioles used three hits, a walk and an error to pull away with a four-run fourth. The error, of course, was the key.

“Those things happen,” Martinez said. “You’ve got to control what you can control. I’ve done that quite a few times when I was an infielder. He makes spectacular plays all year. I’m sure he’ll get my back next time.”

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