BALTIMORE -- A brilliant pitchers' duel that began with Kevin Gausman and Yovani Gallardo went scoreless until the the top of the ninth inning, when Texas scored two runs on as many hits in a 2-0 win over Baltimore on Thursday night.
Leonys Martin, batting against Chaz Roe with one out and a runner on second base, singled to center field, plating Shin-Soo Choo and breaking the scoreless tie. Two batters later, Rougned Odor knocked in Martin with a single to right field.
"To put two runs on the board there late to give [reliever Shawn] Tolleson some room, it was really a great job by Rougned," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "He has really done an outstanding job since being back. What a pleasure to see."
Called up from Triple-A Norfolk earlier on Thursday, Gausman tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings while striking out seven in his second start of the season. Gallardo was just as impressive, allowing two hits -- a pair of singles in the third -- over six innings of shutout work.
"Both starters dealt," Orioles center fielder Adam Jones said. "Gausman, I had a great view from center field, he was throwing strikes with everything, kept us involved. Gallardo, spotted up, he was painting away all day. Kept us off the barrel."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Martin comes up clutch: The Rangers got a clutch hit from an unlikely candidate when Martin plated the go-ahead run, smoking a grounder up the middle to score Choo, who led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Elvis Andrus. Martin has been struggling at the plate this season, and entered the game hitting .190 with a double and stolen base for the series.
"We asked a lot of him in that situation," Banister said. "He really hasn't performed up to the capabilities like he would like to. For him to come through in that situation with a really big hit for us to put that winning run across the plate, hopefully that will help him gain some confidence in those situations and propel him on to where we need him to be."
Oh no, you don't: Batting first in the top of the sixth inning, Odor smacked a line drive over Jones' head in center field. In what was still a scoreless contest, Odor tried to stretch an easy double into a triple. Jones hit cutoff man J.J. Hardy, whose relay throw to third was on the money and erased both Odor and the potential threat. It was Jones' sixth outfield assist of the season and the 23rd for Orioles outfielders, which is tops in the Major Leagues.
"Textbook relay, top of the hop, throw to third," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter. "Manny [Machado] made a great tag. That's probably the difference. There are so many things that have to happen. Jonesy set himself and gave J.J. a throw that he could redirect quickly."
Scoreless once again: Gallardo tossed his fourth straight scoreless outing, going six innings, allowing two hits and three walks and striking out two. He did not face a batter over the minimum from the fourth inning on, and only ran into trouble in the third inning, when he walked the bases loaded with two outs. He struck out Chris Davis to end the inning, and has not allowed a run since June 10. He is 6-0 with a 0.79 ERA in nine starts this season following a Texas loss.
"Honestly, I think it was a little bit of a battle," Gallardo said. "I was falling behind in the count with a bunch of guys. I made pitches when I had to and guys made good plays behind me. Ran some balls down, and I made pitches whenever I had to." More >
Missed opportunity: The top half of the eighth inning took four Orioles pitchers and saw six Rangers step to the plate, but eventually, with the bases loaded, Roe notched the third out and kept the game scoreless. After one single, one walk and one error, Josh Hamilton stepped up with a chance to break open the game. Instead he lined out to center field, and the score remained locked at zero.
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Gallardo has not allowed run in 29 1/3 innings, the fourth-longest streak in Rangers' history, according to STATS Inc. Kenny Rogers holds the record; he went 39 innings without giving up a run in 1995.
"It was the first one who was going to crack. Unfortunately, it was us, but overall, good game. Good game to watch, no matter if you're a player or a spectator, it was a good game." -- Jones, on the low-scoring contest
With two outs in the the sixth inning, Prince Fielder reached safely on an infield single to shortstop Hardy. Hardy skipped his throw to Chris Parmelee at first base, and it was ruled that Parmelee's foot came off the bag. Showalter challenged that the throw beat Fielder and that Parmelee maintained a connection with the bag, and replay confirmed it.
WHAT'S NEXT Rangers: Right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez (2-3, 2.59 ERA) will take the mound on Friday as the Rangers begin a three-game home series against the Angels. Gonzalez is 0-3 with a 4.00 ERA in his last four outings despite posting three quality starts during that span. Hamilton will be playing against his former team for the first time since being traded on April 27.
Orioles: After finishing the homestand 4-3, Baltimore will give the ball to Ubaldo Jimenez to begin a six-game road trip that kicks off in Chicago against the White Sox. Jimenez (7-3, 3.09 ERA), winner of his previous four games, will face John Danks .