BALTIMORE -- Steve Pearce was not projected to be a regular this season. In fact, the Baltimore Orioles cut him in late April, but he returned and keeps forcing Orioles manager Buck Showalter to find a spot for him in the lineup.
Pearce led a four-home run Baltimore attack with a pair of two-run shots, and right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez won his first game in nearly two months as the Orioles rolled to a 7-1 victory over the Texas Rangers Monday night.
Pearce posted the first multi-homer game of his career, finishing with four RBIs thanks to his pair of two-run homers off Texas left-hander Joe Saunders (0-5). The first baseman finished 2-for-5 and now has a .327 average with nine homers and 25 RBIs.
"You get into a comfort zone and you start to feel good, so I'm trying to ride it as long as possible," Pearce said. "It's just good to spark the team."
He's already got career highs in homers and RBIs. That's not bad considering the Orioles released him on April 27 but re-signed him two days later mainly to help fill in at first when Chris Davis went on the disabled list.
Showalter's a big fan of Pearce's work ethic, especially the way he pushes himself.
"Stevie has the ability to get locked in for a long time because he has such a great approach and work habits, and he gives himself a chance to be successful," Showalter said. "I'd rather have to pull guys back than push them forward. He's a guy you don't ever have to push forward."
In addition to Pearce's homers, the Orioles also got solo shots from center fielder Adam Jones and shortstop J.J. Hardy. The Orioles led 4-0 after just 32 pitches from Saunders and never looked back.
Saunders was frustrated afterward due to his struggles in the last three games. He has allowed 20 runs in 13 2/3 innings, losing each time.
"It's tough, man," he said. "You see your guys scuffling and you see your guys battling and playing hard. You try to pick them up and throw zeroes and instead you throw them in a hole in the first...inning. It's not fun."
The power display gave Jimenez (3-8) plenty of support on a night when he had the command and control that has often eluded him this season.
He had gone nine starts without a victory and had dropped four straight decisions since a May 8 victory. This time, he gave up just one run on four hits in eight innings. He struck out seven with just one walk, keeping the Rangers (37-45) quiet.
"Everything was working," Jimenez said. "My mechanics, in the last two games I've been able to feel comfortable on the mound, my mechanics are coming along."
The power display started early when Pearce hit a two-run homer in the first, and Jones added his solo shot later in the inning. Hardy made it 4-0 with a lead-off homer in the second.
Pearce stretched the lead to 6-0 with his two-run homer to left in the fourth inning.
The Rangers scored their only run in the fifth on a throwing error from third baseman Davis. Usually the team's first baseman, Davis moved to third to replace Manny Machado, now serving a five-game suspension.
The Davis error, a throw that just pulled Pearce off the bag at first, let center fielder Leonys Martin score from third.
Catcher Caleb Joseph answered for the Orioles in the bottom half of the inning with a sacrifice fly to give them a 7-1 lead.
Notes: The Orioles will be without 3B Manny Machado for the next five games as his suspension for a bat-throwing incident earlier this month was upheld by Major League Baseball on Monday. Machado appealed the suspension last week in Baltimore, and the Orioles hoped to get at least one game chopped off, but it didn't happen, and he's out until Saturday. ..The Orioles announced just before the game that they selected the contract of RHP Ramon Ramirez from Triple-A Norfolk and optioned RHP Evan Meek back to that team. Baltimore will have to play one player short for five games due to the Machado suspension. ...Texas 3B Adrian Beltre lit up the Orioles when the teams met earlier this month. He went 7-for-12 with three homers, six RBIs and four runs scored during the previous three-game series. Beltre, who went 1-for-3 Monday, now has nine homers in his last 11 games versus Baltimore. ...The Rangers' 37-44 record at the halfway point of the season marks the fewest number of wins the team has had after 81 games since 2007.