ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Jeff Baker knew it was a once-in-season chance he had to take.
It led to the only run for the Texas Rangers.
Baker, in his first game back from the disabled list, went from first to third on a walk for an unusual stolen base in the Rangers' 3-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night in their first game after the All-Star break. They have lost five of six.
Baltimore was playing a shift with All-Star third baseman Manny Machado closer to the shortstop position when Mitch Moreland drew a walk in the fourth.
With pitcher Wei-Yin Chen staring down while kicking dirt on the front of the mound, Baker noticed Machado wasn't watching him either.
``(Machado) wasn't really getting back to third base with any urgency, and as soon as I saw him put his head down, I just went, and I was able to get in there pretty easy,' Baker said. ``I probably get one a year. That's the one time. You don't have to be really fast to be a good base runner.'
Baker was the designated hitter for the Rangers in his first game since June 13, when he sprained his right thumb after over-exuberant high five with a still unidentified teammate that bent Baker's thumb back to his wrist. He had two hits and was involved in unusual base running plays after both.
Right after getting to third on the walk, Baker scored on Craig Gentry's sacrifice fly.
Baker was at first again after a leadoff single in the sixth when Gentry doubled into the right-center field gap. Baker was already rounding third base hard with coach Gary Pettis waving him home before the coach suddenly threw up a stop sign. Baker tried to scamper back after getting almost halfway home, but was thrown out on an 8-6-5 play.
``I see him waving me, then I hit the bag, then I see him put up the stop sign,' Baker said.
Manager Ron Washington had little to say about the play, but it was clear he wasn't blaming Baker.
``If I say what I think, I throw somebody under the bus,' Washington said. ``It was just a play we messed up.'
Nick Markakis had an RBI double for the Orioles and saved a run with a home run-robbing catch, leaping and reaching his glove above the 8-foot wall in right field after Adrian Beltre's long drive leading off the fourth.
Matt Wieters homered, Chen (5-3) allowed one run in 6 1-3 innings and Jim Johnson got his majors-best 34th save as the Orioles gave Buck Showalter his 250th victory since being hired by the team in July 2010.
Showalter joined Joe Torre, Gene Mauch and Dick Williams as the only major league managers to win 250 games with at least four different teams. Showalter won more than 250 games with the New York Yankees (1992-95), Arizona (1998-2000) and Texas (2003-06), where he was replaced by current Rangers manager Ron Washington.
``You had to mention four different teams. Count the losses, I probably have as many of them,' Showalter said. ``Been fortunate to have good players. Tonight was a good example of that.'
Rangers left-hander Derek Holland (8-5) allowed three runs and six hits in an eight-inning span when he threw 119 pitches. He struck out six and walked three.
``I thought he threw the ball extremely well. He certainly threw it well enough that on any other night he might have got a victory,' said Washington, who visited Holland on the mound in the eighth. ``When I went out there, I was just going out there to see how he felt.'
Notes: Orioles' All-Star slugger Chris Davis, the major league leader with 37 home runs, was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. The Texas native traded to Baltimore from the Rangers nearly two years ago did have a nice play at first base when he reached into the seats to catch Beltre's foul pop leading off the eighth. ... It was the third straight year Holland started the Rangers' first game after the All-Star break. He pitched 16 2-3 scoreless innings winning the previous two. ... In three regular-season games as an opponent at Rangers Ballpark, Davis is 1 for 12 with seven strikeouts.
The Associated Press News Service
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