BALTIMORE (AP) — Joe Saunders’ perfect record against the Baltimore Orioles disintegrated with a flawed performance that left the left-hander in a dour mood.
Saunders yielded four home runs, two in the first inning, and that was enough to send the Texas Rangers to a 7-1 defeat Monday night.
Saunders (0-5) came in with a 7-0 record against Baltimore. No one in history had more wins without a loss against the Orioles, but that mark is now history.
In his last three starts, Saunders has given up 20 runs in 15 2-3 innings.
"They have been miserable," he said. "It’s tough man."
This one hurt a bit more than usual, because the Rangers desperately needed a win after losing nine of 11.
"You see your guys scuffling and you see your guys battling and playing hard. You try to pick them up and throw zeroes and instead you throw them in a hole the first inning," Saunders said. "It’s not fun. It’s not fun for me, it’s not fun for them, it’s not fun for anybody."
Steve Pearce hit two-run drives in the first and fourth innings to stake Baltimore to a 6-0 lead. It was the first two-homer game of his career.
Adam Jones and J.J. Hardy also homered for the Orioles, who hit a major league-leading 46 long balls in June. It was the first time Saunders yielded four homers in a game since June 30, 2009.
"The first home run to Pearce was a bad pitch, the other three were decent pitches," he said. "I have to get the ball down and get more groundballs, for sure."
Ubaldo Jimenez (3-8) allowed one run, none earned, and four hits with seven strikeouts in eight innings. The right-hander walked only one after issuing 30 free passes in his previous seven starts.
Signed to a four-year, $50 million contract in February, Jimenez was 0-4 in nine starts since May 8 and 0-6 with a 6.28 ERA in eight starts this season at Camden Yards.
This start, however, was a pleasure.
"It feels good, finally, to get the first win at home and finally being there for the team," Jimenez said. "I know it’s been really tough for me in the first half, but I have a lot of confidence, a lot of faith, that things are going to change."
Saunders can only hope for a change, too. After giving up seven runs and nine hits in five innings, the left-hander is 0-8 over 12 starts since beating Houston last August.
"You try to handle it the best you can," he said. "You try to turn it around and turn the page real quick."
The Rangers’ 10th loss in 12 games left them 9-17 in June. Texas has dropped six straight on the road, its longest skid since an 0-6 streak in August 2010.
"I have to tell my team to keep battling," manager Ron Washington said. "There are nights that go like this. Hopefully tomorrow we can do it to them."
Baltimore pounced on Saunders immediately. Nick Markakis drew a leadoff walk and Pearce followed with a drive to left. After Saunders got the first out, Jones hit a shot into the left-field seats.
One inning later, Hardy made it 4-0 with his second home run of the season. The shortstop hit 25 last year.
It was 6-0 before Texas got a run in the fifth on a throwing error by Chris Davis, who was playing third base for the first time since 2011 as a replacement for Manny Machado, who started a five-game suspension. Davis drew Pearce off first base with a hurried throw while Leonys Martin scored from third with two outs.
Caleb Joseph delivered a sacrifice fly in the bottom half.
NOTES: The Rangers sent RHP Cory Burns to Tampa Bay on a waiver claim to make room for INF Adam Rosales, who was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock. … Nick Martinez, who’s winless in his last six starts, starts for Texas on Tuesday night against T.J. McFarland, whose previous 14 appearances this season have been in relief. … Baltimore selected the contract of RHP Ramon Ramirez from Triple-A Norfolk and optioned reliever Evan Meek to the same club. Ramirez got the last three outs.