BALTIMORE (AP) -- In the wake of their most successful homestand
in five years, the Baltimore Orioles felt an array of emotions as
they packed their bags for a trip to New York.
The Orioles were sad to say farewell to Camden Yards, where they
swept four games from Anaheim and took two straight from Texas. But
they were brimming with confidence as they prepared to board a
train for a two-game series at the AL East-leading Yankees."If ever there was a time to face the Yankees, this is it,"
Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said Tuesday after Baltimore extended
its winning streak to six games with a 12-6 rout of the Texas
Rangers.Jay Gibbons homered and drove in four runs, and Robert Machado
also homered for the Orioles, on their longest streak since winning
six in a row in June 2000."How can you not feel great about the way we're playing right
now?" cleanup hitter Jeff Conine said. "The offense has been
phenomenal and the starting pitching has been outstanding. It's a
team effort, and everyone's contributing right now."Baltimore finished 7-2 against Texas this year. The Orioles, who
swept the defending champion Angels after the All-Star break, went
6-0 on a homestand for the first time since 1998.Next up is the Yankees, who will start Roger Clemens and David
Wells. The Orioles, now 12-5 in July, are up for the challenge."You've got to play the best when you're playing hot, and we're
playing hot right now," Conine said.Hank Blalock and Einar Diaz homered, and Alex Rodriguez had four
hits for the Rangers, who have lost seven of nine."We gave them five runs defensively; that hadn't been
characteristic," Texas manager Buck Showalter said. "We didn't
back up the ball, we didn't get a relay done. There were four or
five runs we gave them, and that doesn't sit well with me."Rafael Palmeiro played in his 1,512th game with Texas, matching
the Rangers' record set by Jim Sundberg. The former Oriole went
1-for-5 and ended an 0-for-14 skid.Baltimore led 7-5 in the seventh before Gibbons hit a three-run
shot off Ron Mahay, who had not permitted a run in eight
appearances since being recalled from the minors. It was Gibbons'
15th homer, the first since June 28.Machado homered off Mahay in the eighth, and Conine added an RBI
double to make it 12-5."Baltimore is playing well," Showalter said. "It revolves
around their pitching, but that's no surprise to anybody."Down 3-2, the Orioles took the lead for good in the fourth
against John Thomson (7-10). Gibbons doubled, Deivi Cruz hit an RBI
single and Machado walked to load the bases for Brian Roberts, who
bounced a two-run single up the middle.Luis Matos then chased Thomson with a sacrifice fly, and B.J.
Surhoff greeted Erasmo Ramirez with an RBI single to make it 7-3."I thought I pitched well enough to not get knocked out of the
fourth inning," Thomson said. "Maybe I could've changed speeds a
little more often in the inning, but I thought I pitched pretty
well."Texas answered with two runs in the fifth. Blalock hit a solo
homer and Rodriguez singled and scored when first baseman Carlos
Mendez dropped the throw on a two-out grounder.Travis Driskill (3-3) then replaced starter Rodrigo Lopez and
struck out Shane Spencer to end the inning.Baltimore took a 2-0 lead in the first. Matos and Surhoff
singled before Conine delivered his league-leading ninth sacrifice
fly and Gibbons slapped an opposite-field RBI single to left.Texas hit four straight singles in the third to go up 3-2.
Michael Young hit a two-run single, stole second and scored on a
single by Blalock.
Palmeiro is the career home run leader at Camden Yards with
101, but hasn't connected there since May 23, 1999. ... The Orioles
recalled LHP Eric DuBose from Triple-A Ottawa to fortify an
overworked bullpen. OF Jack Cust was optioned to Ottawa after
Monday night's game. ... Texas OF Laynce Nix doubled in the fourth
to snap a 0-for-14 skid. He also singled in the eighth.