ARLINGTON – Alexi Ogando is getting almost two weeks off between starts with the All-Star Game coming up, but he might not even need it.
Ogando looked sharp on Wednesday, allowing three runs over seven innings in leading the Rangers to a 13-5 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on a 100-degree night at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
With the victory, the Rangers (47-41) moved one-game ahead of the Los Angeles Angels (46-42) for first place in the American League West.
Ogando (9-3), who struggled in his final two starts of June, put together his second solid start of July. Five of his seven innings were scoreless with his only mistakes coming in the second and seventh. He gave up a two-run home run to Derrek Lee in the second, and then Vladimir Guerrero belted a solo shot to lead off the seventh.
But Ogando minimized damage all night, and ended it by striking out Lee with a 96 mph fastball. Ogando had five strikeouts.
The Rangers’ offense provided plenty of support, too.
Texas scored four runs in the first, highlighted with RBI hits by Michael Young and Nelson Cruz. The Rangers then scored two runs in each the fifth and sixth, and four runs in the seventh -- three coming on a homer by Mike Napoli. They added one more in the eighth.
Finally, it’s worth noting, two Rangers broke out of recent slumps. Elvis Andrus snapped out of an 0-for-16 drought with a double in the fifth, and Mitch Moreland had a single in the fourth to break his 0-for-15 slump.
-- Drew Davison