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Orioles-Rangers Preview

Orioles-Rangers Preview
The Baltimore Orioles have missed two straight chances to sweep three-game series. They've had a much easier time taking advantage of matchups with Vicente Padilla in recent years.

Having started the season with strong efforts against their first two opponents, the Orioles look to rough up Padilla again in the opener of a three-game set with the Texas Rangers on Monday night.

Baltimore is 4-2 after series against the New York Yankees and defending AL champion Tampa Bay, teams expected to be strong contenders in the AL East.

The Orioles, however, lost their finale with the Yankees 11-2 on Thursday and ended their series against the Rays with an 11-3 defeat Sunday.

"I think you've got to just accept ... and move on," Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said.

Against Texas (3-3) and Padilla, Baltimore has a chance to quickly get back on track. Padilla has posted a 15.43 ERA in losing his last three starts versus the Orioles and is 2-5 with an 8.60 ERA in six starts and one relief appearance all-time against them.

The right-hander earned a win in his first start of the season, allowing three runs and four hits in 5 2-3 innings as the Rangers beat Cleveland 8-5 on Wednesday night.

Padilla, Texas' leader in wins with 14 in 2008, has struggled against several Orioles. Right fielder Nick Markakis has hit .667 (6-for-9) with a home run and two doubles versus Padilla while second baseman Brian Roberts is batting .583 (7-for-12) against him.

The Rangers had a tough time at the plate as they were swept in a three-game series with Detroit, batting .138 and scoring nine runs after opening the season by winning three matchups with Cleveland. Texas wasted seven shutout innings from Kevin Millwood in a 6-4 loss to the Tigers on Sunday in the series finale.

Josh Hamilton and Ian Kinsler each hit a two-run homer for the Rangers. Hamilton's was his first home run of the season after hitting 32 last year.

"I wasn't thinking about a homer, but I'll take it," said Hamilton, 6-for-21 (.286) with six RBIs on the season.

It also was the first homer of 2009 for Kinsler, who's batting .349 with three home runs and 15 RBIs in 22 games against Baltimore. He's hitting .350 (7-for-20) this season after posting a career-high .319 average last year.

Kinsler will likely bat leadoff against 34-year-old Orioles rookie Koji Uehara, who won his first major league start. The right-hander, the first Japanese-born pitcher in Baltimore history, allowed up one run and five hits in five innings of a 7-5 victory over the Yankees on Wednesday night.

Uehara, signed to a two-year, $10 million contract in January, kept a strong New York lineup off balance by mixing his split-finger fastball with a changeup he picked up from Baltimore pitching coach Rick Kranitz.

The Orioles had a 4.78 ERA in nine games versus Texas in 2008, losing five.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 12, 2009

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