It's only a week into the season, but the Texas Rangers might again have the look of a World Series contender.
The Rangers try to match a team record with seven consecutive wins to open a season Friday night against the surprising Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.
After playing in the franchise's first World Series in 2010, Texas (6-0) is the major's only undefeated team. The Rangers look to become the first team since San Francisco and Kansas City in 2003 to open with seven straight victories. Texas last did it in 1996, the first of its three AL West titles in four years.
"I knew we had a good team to compete and start good. But 6-0, I didn't really put it in my mind,' new third baseman Adrian Beltre said. "It's been good, and hopefully we can keep doing it.'
Texas has done it with a nice balance of timely hitting and solid pitching.
Though Beltre is batting .125 and AL MVP Josh Hamilton has yet to homer after hitting 32 in 2010, the Rangers outscored the Red Sox and Seattle 42-20 on their opening homestand.
All-Star Nelson Cruz, who homered in each of the first four games, is batting .350 with six RBIs.
On the mound, Texas has a 2.83 staff ERA and closer Neftali Feliz has two saves while retiring all 12 batters he's faced.
"We can play baseball any kind of way we have to play it,' Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "I know we're not going to blow everybody away and maintain this pace, but it's about being consistent in the main areas, pitching and defense.'
The Rangers hope to maintain their success in Baltimore, where the Orioles (5-1) are the early leaders in the AL East.
Texas went 4-6 versus Baltimore last season, but split a four-game set at Camden Yards from Aug. 19-22 shortly after Buck Showalter took over the Orioles.
A lifetime .340 hitter against the Orioles, Hamilton is 7 for 14 with two homers and seven RBIs his last three games in Baltimore.
Rangers scheduled starter Colby Lewis is 0-1 with a 4.97 ERA in two starts against the Orioles, but 5-0 with a 2.28 ERA in his last seven overall, including the postseason.
The right-hander allowed three runs in six innings of a 12-5 win over Boston on Saturday.
Solid pitching has contributed to Baltimore's strong start. Thanks to young talent like scheduled rookie starter Zach Britton, the Orioles have a 2.33 team ERA.
In his major league debut, the 23-year-old left-hander allowed one run and three hits while striking out six in six innings of a 5-1 win at Tampa Bay on Sunday.
"He was good,' Showalter said of Britton. "He's got a chance to be better.'
The Orioles bounced back from their first loss by scoring five times in the seventh inning to beat Detroit 9-5 on Thursday. Adam Jones homered and drove in three runs while Mark Reynolds also added three RBIs.
The Orioles did not win their second series last year until May 13.
"We've still got a lot of games to go,' Jones said. "You've seen a lot of people start out well and you never hear anything about them.'
Though Jones is batting .182, he's a career .306 hitter against the Rangers.
Vladimir Guerrero, who had 29 homers and 115 RBIs with the Rangers in 2010, went 4 for 9 with a home run and three RBIs the last two games.
The Associated Press News Service
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