Josh Lindblom knew that he was likely facing a heavy workload Wednesday night before he threw his first pitch against the Baltimore Orioles.
Less than an hour before he took the mound, the Texas Rangers announced that Yu Darvish will be heading to the disabled list and won’t make his scheduled start Thursday.
Ross Wolf was the common-sense replacement, a shuffling of the pitching deck that would leave the Rangers without a long reliever behind Lindblom.
The Orioles, though, made it an even longer night for the right-hander.
Lindblom allowed six runs in 5 1/3 innings on a miserably humid night at Camden Yards, but he threw a career-high 119 pitches and helped preserve the Rangers’ bullpen during a 6-1 loss.
Nolan Reimold swatted a three-run homer in a four-run fourth inning, and Wen-Yei Chen came off the disabled list to allow one run on three hits in seven innings as Baltimore snapped the Rangers’ three-game winning streak.
But Lindblom’s extra effort should keep the Rangers’ bullpen from needing reinforcements over the final four games of their seven-game road trip.
“That’s all I had in me today,” Lindblom said. “You knew what the situation was with Yu out. You go out and leave everything on the field.”
Wolf will start Thursday night, and left-hander Joseph Ortiz will replace Darvish, who is expected to miss only one start, on the active roster. Manager Ron Washington said that they hadn’t discussed a second move to fortify the bullpen by sending down Lindblom.
He won’t be available the rest of the road trip after laboring for much of the night.
Nate McLouth set a tone for the Orioles by leading off the game with an 11-pitch at-bat. It resulted in a groundout, and Baltimore failed to score in the first inning but made Lindblom (1-3) throw 31 pitches.
“They fouled a bunch of pitches off and ran my pitch count up early,” he said. “When you have a 30-pitch first inning, it’s really hard to go deep in the game.”
Baltimore finally broke through in the third with two runs, one on an RBI triple by Manny Machado and another on a wild pitch with two outs.
The Orioles started the fourth with consecutive walks and an RBI single by Brian Roberts before Reimold, a late insertion into the lineup after Chris Dickerson was scratched, hit a towering fly ball that stayed fair and cleared the wall in the left-field corner for a three-run homer and a 6-0 lead.
“I thought it was foul, really, but it ended up 10 rows back and it was fair by a lot,” manager Ron Washington said.
The Rangers’ bats, meanwhile, were held in check. They didn’t get their first hit until there were two outs in the fourth, when Adrian Beltre singled to extend his hitting streak to 12 games.
Beltre also drove in the only run with a fielder’s choice in the sixth inning.
Lindblom started the sixth after finishing off the fourth inning despite allowing two more hits and then working an easy fifth. Cory Burns replaced him after a one-out walk to McLouth.
But Lindblom, who said he started to cramp up in the sixth, accomplished the task of saving the bullpen after failing at his first task of giving the Rangers a chance for their fourth straight win.
That earned some him praise.
“Of course, we wanted better, but he got us deep in the ballgame and we didn’t have to blow the bullpen out,” Washington said. “Lindblom wanted to keep the ball, and I commend him for that.”