Orioles' power on display early in rout of Rangers

Cruz's 26th homer one of three long balls in first two innings for O's

Orioles' power on display early in rout of Rangers

BALTIMORE -- June is over, but the Orioles' power prowess shows no sign of ending.

On the heels of a month in which they hit a Major League-leading 46 homers, Baltimore -- which tied the fifth-most homers in any month in club history -- came out swinging again Tuesday night, going deep three times in the first two innings.

The barrage of runs, coupled with a solid career-high five innings from spot starter T.J. McFarland, helped the Orioles overpower the Rangers for the second successive night, this time an 8-3 victory in front of 19,150 at Camden Yards.

"It's amazing," Nelson Cruz, who delivered his 26th homer run on his birthday, said of the offensive awakening. "[Steve] Pearce is hitting unbelievable. It seems like every time we need a big hit he's there to deliver. Everything has been good -- pitching, defense and offense. I think we are really showing what we're capable of doing as a team."

The win improves the O's to 44-39, keeping them a game back of first-place Toronto and marking the 24th time in their last 41 games they've collected multiple home runs.

"From one through nine, there's home run potential," said catcher Caleb Joseph, who hit a two-run shot in the second inning. "I don't think anybody here is trying to hit home runs. We're just trying to backspin balls and with the confines and the weather. We've got a bunch of big, strong guys on this team. It's been good, and we'll try and keep barrel on balls and hope they keep flying out."

Red-hot Pearce, who homered twice in Monday's win, put the O's on the board again with a first-inning solo shot off Rangers starter Nick Martinez. Pearce sent a ball deep into left field off Shin-Soo Choo's glove and, after a 41-second crew chief review, it was upheld as a fair ball.

One out later, Cruz who has established himself as an early AL MVP candidate, followed to raise his season total to 67 RBIs.

"The guys that have been hitting them out are capable of hitting them out," Rangers manager Ron Washington said of an Oriole team that has homered in 11 straight games, its longest stretch since going deep in 13 consecutive from August 1-16, 2013. "This is the first time I've seen Pearce. He is a hook master but when we make a mistake, he has taken advantage of it. We know Cruz is capable of hitting it out."

The Orioles piled on Martinez, who went five innings, by making good use of shortstop Elvis Andrus' one-out error for a four-run fourth. After one-out singles by J.J. Hardy and Jonathan Schoop, Ryan Flaherty worked a walk and Joseph bounced into what looked to be an inning-ending double play. But Andrus booted the ball, scoring a run and causing everyone to be safe. Nick Markakis made the error hurt, delivering a two-run double into right field.

Pearce gave the O's their eighth run on a sacrifice fly, driving in his fifth run of the series to increase the lead to 8-2.

"Sometimes, you go through periods and you get some mistakes and you just miss them," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said, "but our guys have been on what mistakes they've made."

McFarland, who watched starter Ubaldo Jimenez get a hefty amount of run support Monday, worked with a lead for most of the night and picked up his first career win as a starter.

Tabbed for his first start of the season, second of his career, the former Rule 5 Draft pick, allowed a two-run double to Adam Rosales in the second inning but otherwise held the Rangers in check.

"Obviously coming in in the first inning as opposed to the sixth or seventh, but nothing really changed," McFarland, who was called on to start with the injury to Bud Norris, said of the difference on Tuesday night. "My mindset was still going out there and throwing strikes and doing exactly what I have been doing."

A member of the Orioles' Opening Day bullpen, McFarland got double plays to end the third and fifth innings, and finished the 68-pitch outing with a pair of strikeouts. The lefty, who ended June with the best relief ERA in the league, gave the Orioles a nice boost and scattered seven hits with no walks.

"Coming off the bullpen, it's tough," Joseph said. "People don't understand. He came out and threw strikes, quality strikes early. Did a really good job with the changeup. Sixty-something pitches, five innings. That's about as good as you can get for a spot start. He picked us up. We needed him today and he did an amazing job."

Righty Ryan Webb was charged with a run in the sixth, with Tommy Hunter and Darren O'Day each delivering a scoreless inning before closer Zach Britton got some work in to finish things off.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.