In meeting of AL's best, Rangers thump O's

In meeting of AL's best, Rangers thump O's

In meeting of AL's best, Rangers thump O's
BALTIMORE -- The Rangers had been eager to get Adrian Beltre back in the lineup. Turns out getting Brandon Snyder in there was big as well.

Both were in the starting lineup on Monday night, and one way or another, that seemed to be what the Rangers offense needed. Snyder drove in six runs with three hits and the Rangers opened up a four-game series with a 14-3 victory over the Orioles at Camden Yards.

I'm probably going to have to wake up tomorrow and read something to make sure it happened," said Snyder, who is from suburban Washington, D.C., about an hour south of Camden Yards. "It was a special night."

Snyder became the third Rangers rookie to have at least six RBIs in a game. Jarrod Saltalamacchia had seven in a 30-3 win over the Orioles in 2007, and Bob Brower had six against Oakland in '06. Snyder's effort also came against the O's, the team that selected him in the first round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft. The Rangers picked up Snyder this past offseason for mere cash considerations, and so far, he's produced in his limited role, especially on Monday night against his former team.

"It's about us going out and playing good," Snyder said. "They're doing well and we're doing well. It's not about guys who used to be Orioles and are now Rangers, or guys who used to be Rangers and are now Orioles. It's just about playing good baseball."

Matt Harrison, benefitting from a mechanical adjustment he made during a bullpen session over the weekend, held the Orioles to three runs in seven innings to get the victory. Harrison had allowed 15 runs in his last two starts, and pitching coach Mike Maddux noticed that the left-hander wasn't keeping his head straight as he went toward home plate.

Harrison corrected that in his side session and said it made a "big difference" on Monday. He took a two-hit shutout into the sixth inning and had a 7-0 lead before giving up a couple of home runs late. He still came away with his fourth victory of the season.

"I started getting up the last couple of innings, but prior to that, everything I wanted to throw down and away stayed down and away, and everything I wanted to throw down and in stayed down and in," Harrison said. "It's definitely something that I can build on."

Beltre was back in the lineup for the first time in six games and was 1-for-4 with a double. That was hardly a huge impact, but a bunch of guys behind him who were struggling celebrated Beltre's return by having good nights.

Michael Young, hitting .208 in his last 13 games, was 2-for-4 with a home run. Nelson Cruz had a three-hit night after having just two in his last 22 at-bats, and Mike Napoli was 2-for-5 after going 2-for-18 in Toronto and Cleveland.

"We needed to bust out," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "The main thing is we finally started driving home some of the runners we've been getting out there. We had some good at-bats, and now we can feed off this."

The Rangers finished with 19 hits, including seven runs in five-plus innings against Orioles starter Brian Matusz, who was 2-0 with a 2.40 ERA in two previous career starts against Texas at Camden Yards.

"Just command," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He never really got into a rhythm. They had a couple of sequences where it looked like he was going to repeat quality pitches, but he never could string much together. That's a good right-handed-hitting lineup, obviously. They squared up a lot of balls off him. Walks didn't help."

Beltre started the first Rangers rally by drawing a leadoff walk against Matusz. After Young flied out, Cruz doubled to right and Beltre, running cautiously on his sore left hamstring, made it to third. Beltre stayed there as Napoli flied out to short right field. But Snyder delivered on a 2-2 slider, lining it up the middle for a two-run single.

Young drove in a run in the third with a sacrifice fly and also started the sixth with a single off the right-field wall. Cruz reached on an infield hit, and Napoli bounced one through the left side for an RBI single. That made it 4-0, and Snyder followed with a three-run home run deep over the center-field wall. It was his second home run of the season.

Snyder added an RBI single during the Rangers' seven-run ninth inning to cap his memorable night.

"There was no way to expect that, but I'm glad he did it," Washington said. "He had a big two-RBI hit, and we needed it. Then he came up with a three-run bomb, and that gave us a cushion. It was huge for Brandon and huge for the team. From there, we started swinging the bats better."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.