Homers Carry Orioles Over Rangers, 8-6

By DAVID GINSBURG
|  Saturday, Aug 21, 2010  |  Updated 9:41 PM CDT
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Texas pitcher Cliff Lee

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Rookie Josh Bell's best day in the majors coincided with the worst performance of Cliff Lee's big league career.

Bell hit his first two home runs, part of an unprecedented long-ball barrage against Lee that carried the Baltimore Orioles past the slumping Texas Rangers 8-6 Saturday.

Ty Wigginton and Luke Scott also connected against Lee, who never before yielded four homers in a game. The left-hander has given up 13 home runs this season -- seven against Baltimore.

Lee (10-7) had gone five starts since July 22 without surrendering a homer. He allowed a career-high tying eight runs, 10 hits and a walk in 5 2-3 innings.

"They hit some good pitches and they hit some pitches I left over the plate," Lee said. "I missed my location several times and they made me pay for it."

It was the first time this season he failed to go at least six innings.

"I just want to work deep and keep my team in the game. Obviously I didn't do that," said Lee, now 2-4 with Texas since being acquired from Seattle on July 9.

Bell began the onslaught with a two-run shot in the third. Wigginton and Scott homered in succession in the fourth, and later in the inning Bell connected with two on for a 7-2 lead.

Bell went 3 for 4, drove in five runs and scored three times. He missed a third homer with a drive to right that hit high off the 7-foot wall.

Bell, the No. 9 hitter in the lineup, came in batting .216 with no homers and four RBIs in his first 74 major league at-bats.

"I'm just trying to take every day as a positive, help the team win," he said. "It feels good to be a part of that, to get one and two out of the way -- especially off a guy like that."

Bell got the two home run balls back from the fans who caught them, trading a bat and a ball for each souvenir.

"I don't think it's ever really going to set in," he said. "This is something I'll remember for the rest of my life."

Josh Hamilton hit his 27th homer and had three RBIs for the Rangers, who have lost five of six and 11 of 15.

"It's easy to play when everything is going well," catcher Bengie Molina said. "It's going to tell us what kind of team we are."

Orioles starter Brad Bergesen (5-9) allowed five runs and nine hits in seven innings.

Mike Gonzalez gave up an RBI double to Mitch Moreland in the eighth and Koji Uehara got three outs for his first major league save.

The Orioles improved to 12-7 under manager Buck Showalter, their best 19-game stretch since an identical run in June 2008.

"It was the Josh Bell Show," Showalter said. "When he collides with the ball, good things happen."

Felix Pie led off the Baltimore third with a single and Lee struck out Craig Tatum before Bell hit an 0-1 pitch over the center-field wall.

Texas pulled even in the fourth. Hamilton led off with a single and scored on a double by Vladimir Guerrero, who came home on a sacrifice fly by Molina.

Baltimore took control in the bottom half, scoring five runs on five hits -- including three home runs.

"I'm not frustrated, I'm disappointed," Lee said. "We tied it up at two and I gave up five more."

Molina said, "It was just location. He was just missing right down the middle of the plate."

The Orioles were happy to take advantage of Lee's lack of control.

"He doesn't make many mistakes, and when he does you better take advantage of them," Showalter said. "We did."

Michael Young singled in a fifth-inning run for Texas, but Baltimore went up 8-3 in the sixth on an RBI single by Julio Lugo.

Hamilton homered with a man on in the seventh. In the bottom half, Texas reliever Scott Feldman left after warming up with a sore right knee; he will receive an MRI on Monday.

Making his major league debut, Texas lefty Michael Kirkman struck out the side in the seventh and retired all four batters he faced.

GAME NOTES:

  • Lee is 2-4 since being acquired in a July 9 trade with Seattle.
  • Rangers 3B Michael Young pulled out of a 3-for-19 drought with a three-hit game.
  • Texas' David Murphy stole his career-high 10th base of the season.
  • Baltimore's Adam Jones went 0 for 4 and is hitless in his last 16 at-bats.
  • Baltimore is 6-3 against Texas, clinching the season series for the first time since 2004.

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