Saunders, O's top Rangers in AL wild-card game

11:06 PM, Oct 5, 2012   |    comments
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Arlington, TX (Sports Network) - Buck Showalter has pushed all the right buttons for the Baltimore Orioles this season.

Showalter elected to start his veteran left-hander Joe Saunders, despite a woeful mark in his career against the Texas Rangers in Arlington.

He didn't disappoint.

Saunders tossed 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball, while Nate McLouth tallied two RBI and a run scored in the Orioles' 5-1 win over the two-time American League-champion Rangers in the AL wild-card game.

The 31-year-old Saunders (1-0), who was 0-6 with a lofty 9.38 ERA in six career starts at Rangers Ballpark, fanned four, surrendered six hits and walked one for Baltimore, which is in the postseason for the first time since 1997.

Jim Johnson, who led the majors with 51 saves this year, left the bases loaded in the ninth.

The Orioles will now host Game 1 of the ALDS at Camden Yards against the New York Yankees on Sunday.

Texas, a team which twice came within a strike of winning last year's World Series, will shockingly watch the rest of the postseason at home.

The Rangers were atop the AL West standings for a whopping 178 days and led the division by 13 games over the Oakland Athletics on June 30. But the A's went an MLB-best 57-26 since to take the crown, while the Rangers went 43-40.

Texas dropped five of its last six games, which included a three-game sweep this past week against Oakland, which clinched the division title of the final day of the regular season.

Making his postseason debut, Yu Darvish (0-1), a 16-game winner during the year, struck out seven, but allowed three runs -- two earned -- on five hits over 6 2/3 frames to take the loss.

The Sports Network

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