Nick Martinez #22 of the Texas Rangers pitches in the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on July 1, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Nelson Cruz hit his 26th home run, Steve Pearce and Caleb Joseph also went deep against rookie Nick Martinez and the Baltimore Orioles breezed past the skidding Texas Rangers 8-3 Tuesday night.
Pearce and Cruz delivered solo shots in the first inning and Joseph connected with a man on in the second. It was the third homer in two nights for Pearce, and Cruz hit his third in seven games on his 34th birthday.
Signed as a free agent to a one-year contract, Cruz is closing in on his career high of 33 home runs with Texas in 2009. He is already one homer short of matching his total last year with the Rangers, a season cut short by a 50-game suspension as part of the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drug scandal.
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.
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.
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.
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 three homers allowed by Martinez were a career high.
The Orioles used three hits, a walk and an error to pull away with a four-run fourth. With the bases loaded, Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus fumbled Joseph's potential double-play grounder to allow a run to score. Nick Markakis followed with an RBI double and Pearce added a sacrifice fly.
Chris Gimenez hit a run-scoring grounder off Ryan Webb in the Texas sixth. But the Rangers went quietly after that in their ninth loss in 10 games against Baltimore, dating to last year.
NOTES: Texas designated LHP Joe Saunders for assignment and recalled RHP Miles Mikolas from Triple-A Round Rock. Mikolas will make his first major league start on Wednesday. Nick Tepesch, who was slated to start Wednesday, was pushed back to Friday against the Mets. ... The Orioles activated OF Nolan Reimold (spine) from the 60-day DL and designated him for assignment. The oft-injured Reimold, 30, has played in 56 games since the start of the 2012 season. ... Texas' Roughned Odor had two hits to snap a 4-for-29 skid.