Orioles 7, Rangers 3
-- Suddenly, surprisingly, the Orioles look almost unbeatable.
Their record may still be disappointing by the standards set in the offseason, but the Orioles have won seven in a row -- sweeping their seven-game homestand with a 7-3 victory over the Texas Rangers on Monday before a crowd of 39,850.
The Orioles are four games under .500 (53-57) and are in third place in the American League East, tied with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Baltimore, which had not swept a seven-game homestand since September 1969, has its longest winning streak since taking 13 straight in 1999.
"I think the guys have kind of seen the light," Manager Lee Mazzilli said. "We're healthy, got good pitching, timely hitting."
Especially timely has been the return of third baseman Melvin Mora.
He provided both the offense and defense Monday with his 19th and career-high 20th home runs of the season and making an impressive backhanded grab of a ball hit down the line that appeared headed for the left field corner.
After a four-RBI game Sunday, Mora drove in three more Monday with a two-run homer in the first and a solo shot in the fifth.
It was his third career two-home run game and the second this year.
"That was an accident," Mora said of his second homer. "The first one, I just tried to get the run in. I wasn't thinking about hitting a home run."
After the game, Mora said Miguel Tejada had not been feeling well, so he tried to pick up the slack.
The shortstop, who said he had an upset stomach, vomited before he arrived at the ballpark, as well as during the first couple of innings.
"He's a kid that has very quiet hands," Mazzilli said of Mora. "He has an idea exactly what he's looking for, what he wants to do. . . . He's a gap-to-gap type of a hitter, line-drive type of hitter that's patient at the plate."
After struggling in the first inning, Orioles starter Dave Borkowski settled down, giving up two runs on four hits in six innings. In the first he gave up a solo homer to David Dellucci and then escaped a one-out, bases-loaded jam. He retired Brian Jordan on a liner to second base and Ernie Young on a grounder.
"[If the Rangers] get one run early, your job's now to shut the rest of it down, keep the chance to stay in it," said Borkowski (3-2). "One run for these guys, the way they're swinging the bats, no big deal long as you hold it there."
The Orioles, as they had throughout the series, were able to do some damage to the Rangers' starter. This time it was Mike Bacsik, who was making his second major league appearance of the season. Bacsik didn't make it through the fifth inning after giving up a two-run homer to Larry Bigbie.
Despite an error by first baseman Rafael Palmeiro in the first inning, the Orioles played stellar defense in the finale of the four-game series.
Center fielder Jerry Hairston made a diving catch of a line drive off the bat of Rod Barajas, and second baseman Brian Roberts prevented another potential Barajas hit with a diving stop.
Alfonso Soriano led off the top of the ninth with his second ninth-inning home run of the series. This time he took reliever Jorge Julio deep just past the left field foul pole. Michael Young nearly duplicated the feat one batter later with a shot that was long enough, but not quite fair.
As the Orioles readied for a six-game road swing through Anaheim and Toronto, the feeling in the clubhouse had changed since they were 11 games under .500 a week ago.
"I think these seven games are going to put in everybody's mind that we can keep going," Tejada said. "We're going to lose some games, even if we lose, we've got to come back the next day. . . . Now we know that no matter what's [going on in] the game, that we can come back and win the game."
Orioles Notes: The club decided against activating outfielder Jay Gibbons after the game. Gibbons, who has been on the disabled list with a strained left hip flexor, could be activated before Tuesday's game at Anaheim. . .
Reliever Jason Grimsley is day-to-day with a hip injury after he was hurt running to first base. Grimsley pitched two-thirds of an inning in his 11th straight scoreless relief outing. . . .
First baseman David Segui, on the disabled list with inflammation of his left knee, was assigned to a rehab stint at Class AA Bowie.