Hamilton homer helps Rangers split after 'weird' Game 1

BALTIMORE -- The first three Baltimore hitters Thursday afternoon hit home runs, an American League first that helped send Colby Lewis to a baseball all-timer.

The Orioles ended up hitting two more homers, making Lewis the first major league pitcher to allow five homers while registering at least 10 strikeouts.

The homers were the Orioles only hits in the game.

But between the third homer and the fourth to start the seventh, Lewis retired 18 consecutive hitters. He struck out six straight at one point and finished with a career-high 12 strikeouts.

Afterward, even Lewis described the performance as "weird."

Making the game even more bizarre is that the Texas Rangers almost won it.

Baltimore needed each of its homers as David Murphy launched a three-run pinch-hit shot in the ninth, but the Orioles hung on to beat the Rangers 6-5.

Josh Hamilton hit a two-run homer in the first inning of Game 2, and Derek Holland allowed no earned runs in six innings as the Rangers earned the doubleheader split with a 7-3 victory.

But Game 1 was the story of a long day.

"It was just a weird game, man," said Lewis, who allowed homers to Ryan Flaherty, J.J. Hardy, Nick Markakis, Adam Jones and Wilson Betemit.

"It seemed like one of those days where you have really good stuff, but if you miss your spot it's not a hit, it's a home run."

After the Markakis homer, which made the Orioles only the fourth team in major-league history to start a game with back-to-back-to-back homers, Lewis didn't allow another runner until Jones' leadoff shot in the seventh.

Lewis (3-2) issued his only walk of the game to the next hitter, Matt Wieters, and Betemit hit the final Orioles homer for a 6-1 lead.

Lewis felt like he could get hitters out, but he had no margin for error.

"Eventually somebody's going to get out," said Lewis, who threw 114 pitches. "I knew I had great stuff. I felt like I was still making pitches. It's weird that I didn't get a mis-hit ball that was a double in the gap."

Hamilton was retired in his first at-bat of the day, ending his streak of consecutive at-bats with an extra-base hit at six. But Hamilton, who homered four times Tuesday, rediscovered his power groove with his 15th homer to start Game 2.

The Rangers squandered the 2-0 lead in the second inning, as three errors behind Holland (3-2) led to three unearned runs. But Nelson Cruz started the fifth with a double off Tommy Hunter, and Mike Napoli followed with a triple for a 3-3 tie.

Andrus, who committed one of the second-inning errors, delivered a two-out single to score Napoli and put the Rangers back in front 4-3. Andrus delivered another RBI single to jump-start a three-run seventh.

The key was Holland keeping his composure and keeping the Rangers in the game until the offense got going again. He allowed only one hit over his final four innings.

"I didn't let it affect me," he said. "They were out there trying hard. My job was to limit the damage."

The Rangers snapped a three-series losing streak by taking 3 of 4 from the Orioles, and finished their 10-game road trip with a 5-5 record despite not having Hamilton and Adrian Beltre for multiple games.

"The way the road trip started and to be 5-5, we'll take that," Napoli said.

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST

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