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BAL@CWS: Britton holds White Sox to two runs in seven

The Rangers are settling in to life on the road before next week's All-Star break, continuing Tuesday night with the second of four games in Baltimore.

Texas used a six-run sixth inning to down the Orioles on Monday night, helping the Rangers keep pace with Oakland in a tight American League West race. Meanwhile, Baltimore is in a bit of rut, having dropped four of five and five of its last seven.

Still, with both teams among the American League's playoff contenders, the matchup could become a more common sight come October.

And though both sides might be known more for offensive prowess, they'll each toss out an effective but relatively unknown starter on Tuesday.

For the Orioles, it'll be lefty Zach Britton getting the nod. Britton has pitched fairly well since he was recalled to plug a gap in the rotation, leaving the Orioles with a problem that seemed unthinkable just a few weeks ago: they have too many capable starters.

"Make sure that I am a good option and I'm giving our team a chance to win," Britton said of his mindset. "I think that's the most important thing. Obviously I felt like I needed to get deeper and I did that in my last start. But being able to consistently do that is another thing."

He tossed seven innings his last time out, giving up two runs on six hits for a no-decision in a 3-2 loss to the White Sox.

With Britton in, the Orioles are maintaining a six-man rotation. Manager Buck Showalter feels good enough about his options to keep it that way until the All-Star break, but says that won't be the case after it. Britton is most likely going to be the odd man out, but he's used to pitching with that kind of pressure by now.

The story is similar on the other side, as young southpaw Martin Perez will tackle the Baltimore lineup, which is fourth in the AL in runs scored.

But after shutting down the Reds and Cardinals for consecutive wins and spinning 5 1/3 innings without allowing an earned run against Seattle his last time out, the young southpaw isn't cowering from the O's powerful bats.

"I like facing good teams," Perez said. "It shows that I can pitch and I'm ready to compete."

Texas has won Perez's last three starts, part of a three-week surge that's seen the Rangers go 14-7.

Orioles: Chen to return Wednesday
The Orioles will activate Wei-Yin Chen from the disabled list to start on Wednesday for the third edition of a four-game set against the Rangers.

The decision allows Chen, who made his second rehab start on Thursday, to get an extra day of rest, and temporarily ups Baltimore to a six-man rotation.

"We can make some adjustments depending on what we do with our bullpen," Showalter said of the move. "Don't want to get guys too far away, but want them to get the benefit [of extra rest]. Because of the four days [for the All-Star break], it allows us to do whatever we want to do post-break. Everybody will have had rest to put them in the mix."

Rangers: Lewis, Harrison eye upcoming progress
Injured starting pitchers Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison are both on the Rangers' road trip to Baltimore and Detroit. Both are hoping their work this week leads to a significant next step immediately after the All-Star break.

Harrison, who has had two surgeries to repair a herniated disk in his lower back, is throwing long toss and playing catch off the mound. That's his plan for the rest of this week.

"We're still looking at the end of August if all goes well," Harrison said. "Maybe six or seven bullpen sessions and a couple of live batting practices and hopefully I can get in a game [on a rehab assignment] by the beginning of August. But everything has to go right for that to happen."

Lewis has had his setbacks in the past five weeks while trying to come back from flexor tendon surgery in his right elbow.

"We'll see how it reacts and then see if I'm ready for a rehab assignment," Lewis said.

Worth noting
• Orioles first baseman Chris Davis was selected to the American League squad for next week's Home Run Derby. Davis has a Major League-leading 33 homers this season.

• Monday's matchup was the first of the season between the two American League powers.

• Orioles first base prospect Christian Walker was added to the Futures Game roster for Team USA on Monday. Comments