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Rangers roll, trim Wild Card deficit to two

Texas cuts Wild Card deficit to two

BALTIMORE -- Scott Feldman insists he likes Rangers Ballpark in Arlington just fine, but it's becoming increasingly clear how much he enjoys pitching away from home.

Feldman notched his 11th road victory of the season Friday and improved to 15-4 15th overall as Texas beat Baltimore, 5-1, at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Texas pulled within two games of Boston in the chase for the American League Wild Card spot. The Red Sox (78-56) fell to the White Sox, 12-2, on Friday.

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The 26-year-old Feldman went 6 2/3 innings, giving up four hits and a run to earn his seventh consecutive victory away from Arlington.

"There's really nothing to it," Feldman said. "It's playing on a good team. I keep getting asked this question and I just keep saying the same thing. I'm preparing the same. Everything's the same."

Feldman's finely tuned script was slightly altered during the second inning, as home-plate umpire Paul Schrieber told the pitcher to change gloves with Saturday's starter, Kevin Millwood.

"Somebody over there complained about it," Feldman said. "Maybe it's too light or something. I'm going to have to find out about that."

Orioles manager Dave Trembley said: "It's a white glove. You can't do that. We've got the right guy here to make sure that's enforced. That's the rule and those guys were told in Spring Training not to do that. He was absolutely right to enforce that."

Once the drama subsided, Feldman found his comfort zone.

Asked how important the 11 road wins were to the team, Rangers manager Ron Washington said: "It's nice to have a guy pick up 11 wins, period. It doesn't matter to me whether it's on the road or at home, as long as he gets them. The guy's just been going out there time after time, making his pitches, keeping us in ball games and giving us an opportunity to do what we did tonight- win."

When Washington removed Feldman from the game in the sixth inning, he turned to Neftali Feliz. Feliz pitched the final 2 1/3 innings and did not surrender a hit thanks to an impressive changeup and a dominating fastball.

Trembley said of Feliz, "I've been watching him on tape, and he's even more impressive when you see him in person."

The Rangers (76-58) are rolling just as much as Feldman.

The Rangers have won four straight games and are very much in the AL West race as well, trailing the Angels by 3 1/2 games.

"We've been in the right mind frame since the season started," Washington said. "It's not looking ahead. It's not looking behind. It's taking of what we have to do today, and that's what we've been doing pretty good."

The Rangers produced eight hits and scored all five of their runs off Baltimore rookie Chris Tillman.

"I wasn't looking at him as a rookie," Washington said. "It was just important to get out ahead and stay out ahead. He was trying to use everything he had. I thought he did a great job. We just put some runs on him."

Chris Davis hit a two-run double during a three-run fourth and Nelson Cruz hit his 31st home run of the season in the sixth to give Texas a 5-0 lead.

Center fielder Marlon Byrd and shortstop Elvis Andrus each had two hits for Texas. Byrd had a single in the first to score Andrus.

Ivan Rodriguez hit a single to left field to score David Murphy during the fourth and would later score with Cruz on Davis' double.

The Orioles scored their lone run in the sixth inning, when Brian Roberts hit a single to bring in Cesar Izturis.

Byrd said the Rangers have found a formula for success through pitching, fielding and timely hitting. Members of the team, including Byrd, watched the Red Sox lose after their game ended.

"When they win, we have to win," Byrd said. "When they lose, we have to win. We can't take any game for granted from now on. It's crunch time and we really have to get on a streak."

Matt Palmer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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