BALTIMORE (AP) - Colby Lewis set two career highs, one of them quite undesirable, in a performance he categorized quite accurately as ``weird.'
Lewis gave up five home runs, including one to each of the first three batters he faced, and the Texas Rangers lost to the Baltimore Orioles 6-5 in a doubleheader opener Thursday.
Ryan Flaherty, J.J. Hardy and Nick Markakis began the bottom of the first inning with homers for Baltimore, the first AL team in history to open with three successive long balls.
After the home run barrage, Lewis retired his next 18 batters before Adam Jones homered leading off the seventh to make it 4-1. Lewis walked Matt Wieters, and Wilson Betemit hit a drive to right for a 6-1 lead.
The five home runs yielded by Lewis (3-2) were a career high. They were the only hits he allowed over seven innings, and he also set a career high with 12 strikeouts. That made him the first pitcher since 1918 to give up five home runs and have at least 10 strikeouts in the same game.
``I can't justify that game,' Lewis said. ``It seemed like one of those days where you have really good stuff and then you miss your spot or something and it's just not a hit, it's a homer. You can't really look at it any other way. It was just kind of a weird game.'
In spite of his up-and-down effort, Lewis kept the game close enough to give the hard-hitting Rangers a chance to come back.
``It was one of the unfortunate things,' Texas manager Ron Washington said. ``They put three runs on the board and they just happened to be homers. He kept us in the ballgame. After that first inning, you didn't know what to expect. But he settled down and gave us a chance.'
The previous team to homer in its first three at_bats was the Milwaukee Brewers on Sept. 9, 2007. Hardy was also the middle man in that barrage. Milwaukee was the third major league team to accomplish the feat, all from the NL.
Coming off a four-homer game Tuesday night, Texas slugger Josh Hamilton went 1 for 4 with a single and two strikeouts. He came in with five home runs and a double in his previous six at_bats.
The teams were rained out Wednesday night, setting up the doubleheader.
Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen (3-0) gave up two runs and six hits in 7 2-3 innings, striking out five and walking one. The 26-year-old Taiwan native has allowed two runs or fewer in five of six starts and has a 2.68 ERA in his rookie season.
After Chen left in the eighth, Adrian Beltre hit an RBI single to make it 6-2. Pinch-hitter David Murphy added a three-run homer in the ninth off Jim Johnson, who got three outs for his ninth save.
With Chen leading the way, the Orioles snapped a seven-game losing streak against the Rangers. Texas won the first two games of the series 14-3 and 10-3 and outscored Baltimore 70-18 during its seven-game run.
After Texas went down in order in the first, Flaherty hit his first major league homer, driving a 1-0 pitch over the right-field wall to give Baltimore its first lead in the series. Three pitches later, Hardy homered to left, and Markakis followed with his fifth home run on an 0-2 pitch.
It was the first time since June 1999 that Baltimore hit three homers in the first inning.
Lewis then retired Jones on a fly ball, struck out the next six batters and did not allow a runner to reach until Jones homered.
``I've known Colby for a long time. I knew it was only a matter of time before he settled in,' Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. ``We were fortunate to take advantage of it early. We didn't mount much after that. Our guys put some good swings on some mistakes.'
After Hamilton flied out to left with two outs and the bases loaded in the fourth, the Rangers closed to 3-1 in the fourth. Michael Young doubled with one out and scored on a two-out single by Yorvit Torrealba.
NOTES: The prior time Baltimore hit five homers in a game was on June 30, 2010, against Oakland. ... Derek Holland was slated to pitch the second game for the Rangers, who were 6-0-5 in doubleheaders since dropping a pair to the Yankees in May 2007. ... Texas SS Elvis Andrus extended his hitting streak to nine games. He has reached base by hit or walk in 27 straight games.
The Associated Press News Service
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