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Orioles can't seem to shake .500 mark

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Orioles can't seem to shake .500 mark

The Orioles start the second half of the season at .500, now the 11th time they’ve reached an even record so far this season.

They’ve been 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, 5-5, 7-7, 10-10, 11-11, 12-12, 30-30, 31-31 and finally 44-44.

According to STATS LLC, that’s not close to the team record. In 1962, they were at .500 25 times, eventually finishing the season 77-85.

But, in only nine seasons since the franchise began in 1954 have the Orioles been at the breakeven point 11 times in an entire season.

If the Orioles find themselves at .500 after Saturday night’s game, they’ll be one of just seven teams in O's history to do that 12 times. The most unusual Orioles team to record multiple visits to .500 land was the 1974 squad.

That team had the second-most trips to .500 in team history, 19, but remarkably finished 91-71.

On Aug. 30, they were 65-65 before going on a 26-6 tear to win the American League East. That team recorded five consecutive shutouts in early September.

Orioles fans will hope 2015’s team will take after that one, with another hot run to close en route to an appearance in October.

NOTES: Oddsmaker Bovada has lengthened the Orioles’ odds on winning the World Series to 25-1. On July 1, they were 20-1.

The Kansas City Royals are the new favorites to win the World Series at 6-1. St. Louis and Washington are second at 8-1.

MORE ORIOLES: Five things O's need to improve in the second half

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Orioles unable to punch in final run late against Rangers

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Orioles unable to punch in final run late against Rangers

BALTIMORE -- Ryan Rua had a tiebreaking, pinch-hit three-run homer in the seventh inning and the Texas Rangers held on to beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-4 Friday night to snap a three-game losing streak.

Cole Hamels (5-8) won for the first time in almost a month, allowing four runs and five hits with three strikeouts and one walk over 6 1/3 innings in a matchup of last-place teams.

Rua broke a 1-1 deadlock with the first pinch-hit of his career, off rookie Tanner Scott. Nomar Mazara added an RBI double later that inning, which made it 5-1 and boosted Scott's ERA from 5.88 to 6.84 over 26 appearances.

Baltimore pulled within a run on Caleb Joseph's three-run double against reliever Jose Leclerc in the bottom half of the inning. The Orioles loaded the bases in the eighth but Jake Diekman got out of the jam by getting Chris Davis on a short pop out.

Keone Kela got the last three outs for his 23rd save.

The Orioles have lost 17 of 20 and fell to 14-33 at Camden Yards, the second-worst home mark in the majors behind Kansas City.

Joey Gallo gave the Rangers the lead when he led off the fifth with a home run off Alex Cobb (2-12). The Orioles answered in the bottom half when Adam Jones hit a double just inside the left-field foul line and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Danny Valencia.

Cobb left his previous start against the Twins in the sixth inning with a blister on his right index finger. He did not appear hampered by the injury and allowed two runs and six hits with three strikeouts and no walks over 6 1/3 innings.

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Gibson strikes out nine as Twins beat Orioles 5-4

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Gibson strikes out nine as Twins beat Orioles 5-4

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Bobby Wilson helped Kyle Gibson turn around his pitching after a rough first inning. Then, for at least one afternoon, the veteran catcher fixed his own struggles at the plate.

Wilson went 2-for-3 with three RBIs, Gibson recovered from a shaky first to throw seven innings, and the Twins beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-4 on Saturday.

Max Kepler homered in his second straight game to help send the Twins to their third win in a row.

"You take them any way you can get them," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We haven't had the luxury of any kind of run here as of late, so to start out the home stand with three, it feels pretty good."

The Twins didn't bring in Wilson for his offense -- his two-hit day raised his batting average to .134 -- so they're not expecting him to deliver game-turning hits on a regular basis. But that's exactly what he did with an RBI single in the fifth that made it 3-2, and a two-RBI double the next inning that proved the game-winner.

It was Wilson's first multi-hit game since Sept. 21, 2016.

"I feel like I've been doing everything I can defensively but it's time to start turning that corner and start contributing offensively as well," Wilson said.

Earlier in the day, the team needed Wilson's smarts behind the plate to recover from an early hole.

Gibson (3-6) allowed three runs in the first inning -- including a two-run homer by Chris Davis -- but only gave up two hits after that while striking out nine. It was Gibson's highest strikeout total since fanning 10 batters on April 26 against the New York Yankees.

"After the first inning we sat down and I said `Gibby talk to me, what do we got to do? What's going to turn this around?' So we talked about a few things and we kind of stuck with that game plan for the rest of the game," Wilson said.

Kepler's solo shot off Kevin Gausman sparked a three-run fifth that tied it. Wilson's two-run double off Miguel Castro (2-5) in the sixth gave Minnesota the lead for good.

Trevor Hildenberger worked a scoreless eighth for the Twins. Jace Peterson's RBI double off Fernando Rodney pulled the Orioles to 5-4, but Rodney got Tim Beckham on a grounder to short to convert his 19th save in 24 chances.

PUNCHLESS ORIOLES

The team with baseball's worst record, meanwhile, lost its fifth in the row and fell 40 games below .500.

"It's kind of hard to believe that's where we're at right now," Davis said. "I feel like anytime we start to build some momentum, we either give it right back to the other team or we do something to kind of take ourselves out of the game."

That certainly seemed the case Saturday.

Coming off his best start of the season against the L.A. Angels, Gausman had a 3-0 lead before ever taking the mound and looked sharp early. Gausman faced the minimum number of batters through the first three innings, and allowed a single hit through the first four.

But things turned quickly in the fifth. With one out, Kepler homered to left-center, Robbie Grossman doubled, and Jake Cave and Wilson followed with singles. After Joe Mauer walked, Cave scored on a wild pitch to tie the game.

"I don't think I really got away from anything. They just did a good job of battling and put some long at-bats together, and fought some pitches off and really got my pitch count off."

Gausman, who held the Angels to one run and two hits without a walk in eight innings last Sunday, didn't return for the sixth.

TURNING POINT

The Orioles loaded the bases in the third with two outs, but Gibson struck out Danny Valencia swinging to end the threat. After that, Gibson allowed a leadoff double to Jonathan Schoop before retiring 10 in a row.

"We scored three in the first and then just didn't do anything," manager Buck Showalter said. We had a chance to open it up there, but that's the hit that's been eluding us to really get to that five or six-run lead."

TRAINERS ROOM

Orioles: OF Trey Mancini got a rare day off, but manager Buck Showalter said he was fine. The manager said it was more about getting Peterson a chance to play. Peterson went 1-for-3 on Saturday.

RIPKEN'S RECORD

Davis' strikeout against Hildenberger in the eighth was the 1,306th of his career, moving him past Cal Ripken, Jr. for Baltimore's franchise record.

"You play long enough, you're going to swing and miss enough to apparently set some records. There's not really much to say about that," Davis said.

UP NEXT

Orioles: Alex Cobb (2-10) takes the mound for Baltimore in the finale. He hasn't won since June 5 against the New York Mets.

Twins: Jake Odorizzi (3-6) makes his 19th start of the year as the Twins go for the sweep. His last outing against Baltimore was March 29, when he shut out the Orioles over six innings on two hits and two walks.