BALTIMORE — With the temperature rising, so has the number of balls flying out of Camden Yards the past two days.
Coming off a month in which the Baltimore Orioles led baseball with 46 homers in June, they opened July continuing their power surge on a muggy Tuesday night.
The Orioles hit three homers — including Nelson Cruz’s majors-leading 26th of the season on his 34th birthday — as they beat a struggling Texas Rangers team, 8-3, in front of an announced 19,150.
The team also received a gritty spot start from left-hander T. J. McFarland, who provided the Orioles with five much-needed innings — a career high from MacFarland, who has almost exclusively been a reliever in the majors, in his second major league start.
Baltimore has hit seven homers in the first two games of their four-game series with the Rangers, outscoring Texas 15-4.
With the win — their fourth in five games against the floundering Rangers this season — the Orioles (44-39) remained one game back of the AL East-leading Toronto Blue Jays, who beat Milwaukee, 4-1.
The Orioles are currently second in the majors with 103 home runs, trailing only Toronto’s 110. They have hit multiple homers in 24 of their last 41 games.
They have launched two homers in the first inning in back-to-back games, and left fielder Steve Pearce homered in the opening frame both nights from the No. 2 spot in the order.
McFarland (1-1) had made just one previous big-league start and his career-long outing was a 4 2 / 3-inning relief appearance on June 8 against Oakland.
— Baltimore Sun