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TEX@KC: Feldman induces double play to escape sixth

The American West-leading Rangers appear destined to make the playoffs for the third consecutive season.

But manager Ron Washington is not taking any team lightly, especially not a surprising Orioles club the Rangers could meet in October.

Baltimore and Texas will square off for the second of a three-game set in Arlington on Tuesday, after the Rangers took Monday's opener, 5-1.

"What Buck [Showalter] has instilled into those guys, is to play a schedule, 162 games. Don't get too high, don't get too low," Washington said about Baltimore's skipper. "The teams that can play 162 are the teams that are going to be there at the end.

"The more close games you can win, the more you don't feel the pressures of where you are, as far as standings go. You get to the point where you just play baseball."

One reason Baltimore has stayed in the postseason picture is its Major League-best .793 clip in one-run games (23-6), which will be key to maintain as the club has the third-toughest schedule remaining in the AL based on opponents' win percentage.

Closer Jim Johnson, who is second in the Major Leagues with 37 saves, believes improved defense has been a key to the Orioles' success.

"The guys that we have in here now and how our defense has gotten better has helped us do our jobs a little bit easier," Johnson said.

Baltimore will turn to 24-year-old Chris Tillman, who carries a 5-2 record and 3.65 ERA into his ninth start of the season. Tillman will look to bounce back after lasting 4 2/3 innings in a loss to Boston in his last outing, his second shortest of 2012.

Tillman will counter the Rangers' Scott Feldman, who will be pitching on an extra day of rest.

The right-hander has lost his last two starts after recording a win in six consecutive decisions.

Orioles: Texas reunion for many
• The Orioles have six players who played for the Rangers at some point during the 2011 season, including shortstop Omar Quintanilla, first baseman Chris Davis, pitcher Tommy Hunter, catcher Taylor Teagarden and relievers Pedro Strop and Darren O'Day.

"It's a unique experience for myself," said Teagarden, who made his Major League debut with the Rangers in 2008. "I've never been in this visitors' locker room. ... It's fun to come back to Texas to play impactful games in August."

• With Monday's loss, the Orioles fell to 16-24 in the first game of a series this year. In remaining series games, the O's have gone 50-32.

• Adam Jones hasn't homered in a season-high 22 consecutive games, but he still leads the Orioles with 24 home runs.

Rangers: Nathan dominating
• Closer Joe Nathan earned his 23rd consecutive save by striking out the side in Monday's victory over Baltimore. On the year, he's 25-for-26 in save opportunities. Furthermore, Nathan's 23 straight saves is the longest active streak in baseball and just one behind the Indians' Chris Perez for the longest of the 2012 season.

The 37-year-old Nathan has had only one longer run in his career, which came as a member of the Twins in 2004, when he converted 27 straight saves.

He set a club record for most consecutive saves in a single season on Saturday in Toronto, and is only two shy from tying the longest string in Rangers history by John Wetteland, which spanned parts of two seasons.

• The Rangers are looking to win four straight games for the second time this month. Their longest winning streak of the season came in April, when they won eight consecutive.

Worth noting
• The Rangers are 5-1 against the Orioles in 2012 and 9-1 over their past 10 meetings overall. Over the 10 games, Texas has outscored Baltimore 87-28.

• It's the first time that Baltimore has traveled to Arlington this season, a place that hasn't been kind to opponents. Texas' .627 winning percentage at home is tops in the AL. The Orioles, however, have already won four more road games than they did all of last season. Comments