BALTIMORE – Alfonso Soriano homered, had three hits and drove in two runs, leading the Texas Rangers to a 4-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night that stopped a five-game losing streak.

Joaquin Benoit (2-1) blanked Baltimore on four hits over five innings in his second start of the season. The first came last Wednesday, when he allowed six runs in five innings in a loss to the New York Yankees.

Francisco Cordero, the fifth Texas pitcher, worked the ninth for his 23rd save, getting Miguel Tejada to hit into a game-ending double play,

It was a bad night for Baltimore in more ways than one. Not only did the Orioles extend their losing streak to six games, tying a season high, but they also lost a possible addition to a struggling offense that stranded 10 runners and has scored more than five runs only once since the All-Star break.

During the game, Baltimore learned that San Diego Padres first baseman Phil Nevin blocked a proposed trade that would have sent him to the Orioles for pitcher Sidney Ponson. Nevin had the right to reject a deal to eight teams, including Baltimore.

“He just decided that … family factors, personal factors, took precedent over baseball factors,” said Nevin’s agent, Barry Axelrod. “He wants to remain a part of San Diego and the ballclub. He’s always wanted to be in San Diego.”

Jay Gibbons homered and Melvin Mora had three hits for the Orioles, who dropped to two games over .500 (50-48) for the first time since April 21.

Baltimore starter Daniel Cabrera (8-8) pitched five innings, giving up three runs, three hits and a career-high seven walks.

After Benoit left, Jay Gibbons hit his 15th homer on the second pitch from Ron Mahay, and Larry Bigbie added a run-scoring groundout to bring the Orioles to 3-2 in the sixth.

But that was the extent of the Baltimore offense, which failed to benefit from the return of catcher Javy Lopez, who spent two months on the disabled list with a broken hand. Lopez went 0-for-4 with a strikeout.

The Rangers made it 4-2 in the eighth when Soriano singled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Adrian Gonzalez.

Texas went up 1-0 in the third, thanks to Cabrera’s wildness – and a mental lapse by the right-hander. After Gary Matthews walked and was caught stealing, Cabrera walked three straight to load the bases. Mark Teixeira followed with a grounder to first, and Cabrera was late covering the base on the back end of a potential double play, allowing a run to score.

Soriano hit his 25th homer leading off the fourth, and Baltimore left the bases loaded in the bottom half.

The Rangers made it 3-0 in the fifth. Cabrera issued a pair of two-out walks before Soriano blooped an RBI single to right.

Notes: Texas’ Dave Dellucci was given the night off after going 1-for-15 in his previous five games. … The eight-game hitting streak of Baltimore’s Sammy Sosa ended with an 0-for-3 night.

AP-ES-07-25-05 2231EDT


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