Fill-in Snyder turns on Rangers' power in Baltimore

BALTIMORE -- An offense that hadn't been able to capitalize on many chances over the weekend finally got a breakthrough hit from an unlikely source early Monday night.

A starting pitcher who had stunk his previous two outings enjoyed a renaissance to his early April form and gave an inconsistent rotation a boost.

Brandon Snyder and Matt Harrison found at Camden Yards what had been ailing the Texas Rangers on this road trip, and the result was a runaway victory over the hottest team in baseball.

Snyder smacked a three-run homer and drove in a career-high six runs, and Matt Harrison pitched well over seven innings as the Rangers opened a four-game series against Baltimore with a 14-3 victory.

Michael Young and Josh Hamilton hit two-run homers in a seven-run ninth inning to help snap the Orioles' winning streak at five games. The Rangers had lost four of their previous five, but felt like they were just a hit away from busting through.

The last man to make the team out of spring training delivered it -- a two-out, two-run single in the second -- and later knocked out the team that drafted him in the first round in 2005.

"It's tough to really say much except I'm just really fortunate for the opportunity the Rangers have given me," said Snyder, who had a large group of friends and family in attendance from nearby Chantilly, Va.

"With the guys we have in this lineup, it just takes one spark. Obviously, my job isn't always to be that spark, but the opportunity, when it comes, just capitalize on it. It feels good."

The Rangers had been frustrated by their lack of production while losing two of three games at Cleveland over the weekend. They hit .240 (6 for 25) with runners in scoring position at Progressive Field after entering the series at .306.

Snyder's single was the first of eight hits in 15 at-bats with runners in scoring position against Brian Matusz and two relievers. Snyder, who was acquired from the Orioles on Jan. 3 for cash considerations, added a three-run homer in the sixth for a 7-0 lead and became the third rookie in club history with a six-RBI game after an RBI single in the ninth.

"There's no way I can expect that, but I'm glad he gave it to us," said manager Ron Washington, who started Snyder at third base as Adrian Beltre was the designated hitter. "I'm happy for Brandon, but I'm also happy for my team because we needed to go out there and assert ourselves again."

Every Rangers starter had a hit and reached base at least twice. The happiest man might have been Harrison, who was handed a 7-0 lead in the fifth before surrendering homers in the sixth and seventh innings.

The left-hander allowed 14 earned runs on 22 hits in his previous two starts, covering 81/3 innings. A slight mechanical tweak with his head during a bullpen session made all the difference.

"I could see the results right after I fixed it in the last bullpen, but it's a different story carrying it over to a game when the intensity level is different," said Harrison (4-2). "It's definitely something I can build on and put those previous two starts in the wash."

Snyder, though, doesn't want to forget about his career game.

"I'm probably going to have to wake up and read something to make sure it happened," he said.

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST

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