BALTIMORE – Josh Hamilton hit his major league-leading 15th homer, Derek Holland pitched six innings of four-hit ball, and the Texas Rangers beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-3 on Thursday night for a doubleheader split.

In the opener, the Orioles set an AL record by hitting home runs in their first three at-bats, including one by former Deering High star Ryan Flaherty, and launched five in all against Colby Lewis in a 6-5 victory.

Hamilton entered the doubleheader coming off a four-homer game and had five home runs in his previous six at-bats. After going 1 for 4 with a single and two strikeouts in the first game, he resumed his assault on Baltimore pitching by hitting a two-run, first-inning shot off former Rangers right-hander Tommy Hunter (2-2).

Hamilton went 1 for 4 in the nightcap, dropping his batting average to .395 but increasing his major league-leading RBI total to 38.

The Orioles took advantage of three Texas errors to go up 3-2 in the second inning, but the Rangers regained the lead in the fifth when Nelson Cruz doubled, Mike Napoli tripled and Elvis Andrus delivered a two-out RBI single.

Texas pulled away with a three-run seventh, scoring twice on grounders after Hamilton received an intentional walk.

Holland (3-2) allowed three runs, none earned, to earn his first win in four starts since April 18.

Recalled from Triple-A Norfolk before the game, Hunter gave up four runs and five hits in six innings. He struck out seven.

The teams were rained out Wednesday night, setting up the twin bill. Texas has gone 13 straight doubleheaders since May 2007 without being swept.

In the first game, Flaherty, J.J. Hardy and Nick Markakis opened the bottom of the first inning with homers to give Baltimore a lead it did not relinquish. Flaherty’s homer was the first of his major league career.

The previous team to homer in its first three at-bats was the Milwaukee Brewers on Sept. 9, 2007. Hardy also was the middle man in that spree.

YANKEES 5, RAYS 3: CC Sabathia outpitched David Price for the first time in six career matchups between the All-Star lefties, Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson homered and host New York Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays.

Sabathia (5-0) struck out 10, punctuating his outing by fanning B.J. Upton with two runners on base to end the seventh inning.

BLUE JAYS 6, TWINS 2: Henderson Alvarez pitched seven strong innings to win his third straight start for visiting Toronto.

Alvarez (3-2) stretched his scoreless streak to 17 innings before second baseman Kelly Johnson’s throwing error allowed the Twins to score in the third.


NATIONALS 4, PIRATES 2: Stephen Strasburg struck out a season-high 13 over six innings and visiting Washington snapped a three-game losing streak with a win over Pittsburgh.

Roger Bernadina and Adam LaRoche both homered in the sixth off Pittsburgh’s Kevin Correia (1-3) to erase a two-run deficit. Henry Rodriguez pitched the ninth for his seventh save.

Strasburg improved to 3-0 while trimming his ERA to 1.64.