BALTIMORE -- Backed by Seth Smith's go-ahead, seventh-inning homer, the scuffling Orioles took a late-game lead and held on to take Monday's opener over the Rangers, 3-1, at Camden Yards.Fresh off being swept by the Cubs this weekend, Baltimore took its first lead since July 9 on Smith's solo blast,
BALTIMORE -- Backed by Seth Smith's go-ahead, seventh-inning homer, the scuffling Orioles took a late-game lead and held on to take Monday's opener over the Rangers, 3-1, at Camden Yards.
Fresh off being swept by the Cubs this weekend, Baltimore took its first lead since July 9 on Smith's solo blast, which came on the first pitch of his at-bat against Rangers starter Andrew Cashner. Ruben Tejada tacked on an RBI -- one of three runs charged over Cashner's 6 2/3 innings -- off of reliever Jeremy Jeffress to give the O's some insurance.
"I felt good," Cashner said. "I kept them off-balanced, made pitches, got some double plays and had a good sinker. The biggest thing is I gave my team a chance to win. I felt I did that, things just kind of unraveled in the seventh."
The victory moves the Orioles -- who were a season-high seven games under .500 -- back in the right direction, while the Rangers -- also in the American League Wild Card race -- fell to 45-47 on the year.
• Rangers offense 'still engaged' despite slump
Orioles starter Chris Tillman turned in his best start this season, tying a season-high six innings and holding Texas to just one run -- Jonathan Lucroy's second-inning double -- on two hits and four walks.
"The guys have been working. It's not for lack of trying," said Tillman, who snapped the Orioles' stretch of 10 games without a quality start.
"We need to get on a roll. That's what we've done in the past. One or two guys gets going and everyone follows suit. Kind of the friendly competition that we have always talked about. I see a lot of positive signs, but the results aren't what they should be. But we're getting there. Like I said, it's still a process."
Baltimore All-Star Jonathan Schoop's one-out sacrifice fly in the sixth inning tied the game at 1.
The Rangers brought the winning run to the plate in the ninth inning, but Orioles reliever Brad Brach was able to hang on and get the save.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Smith Cash-es in: Smith's 10th homer of the year was a biggie, soaring deep into center field and over a leaping Carlos Gomez. Cashner, who had allowed just two long balls in seven starts coming in, exited after Welington Castillo followed the home run with a double.
"You want to allow yourself to hit home runs, but you're never really trying to," Smith said. "So, I was trying to get a good pitch and try to have an idea of what he might do and get the barrel to it."
Rangers miss Castillo: The Rangers had a chance to get the slow-footed Castillo going for his double. Shortstop Elvis Andrus' relay had him beat easily but second baseman Rougned Odor -- covering the bag -- wasn't ready for the throw and it got past him. Castillo scored on Tejada's single for an insurance run.
"Looked like miscommunication," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "It looked like when Elvis cut the ball, Rougned turned to see where the runner was and thought he had gone back to first."
• Rangers searching for left-handed relief help
"I saw the guy fall down and the ball kick around so I went. I may not be fast but I do have some triples in my career. It took a perfect relay and they made it. If the ball is three or feet either way, I'm safe." -- Lucroy, on getting thrown out trying for a triple in the second inning
"Cashner came in as a real hot pitcher, he was coming off a real good outing. We've been facing a lot of good pitching, I'll tell you that. But we did last year and the year before and the year before. It's the big leagues. These are good pitchers up here and we needed a quality outing to beat him." -- Orioles manager Buck Showalter
• Trio of Rangers relievers inch closer to returns
Rangers:Tyson Ross will be facing the Orioles for the first time since 2012 when he pitches at 6:05 p.m. CT Tuesday at Camden Yards. Ross is 1-0 with a 3.24 ERA in his last three starts. This is his sixth start since coming off the disabled list.
Orioles: Baltimore will send Dylan Bundy to the mound to open his second half at 7:05 ET. The Orioles' first-half ace, Bundy is coming off a rough start in Minnesota in which the righty gave up six earned runs. Still, Bundy leads the team in wins (8) and ERA (4.33).
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Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.