ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Baltimore Orioles are starting to show signs of the team that sat alone atop the AL East for 62 straight days earlier this season, even if it's too late to make up for their midseason slump.
Baltimore won its third straight game Monday night, when Daniel Cabrera struck out seven in 5 2/3 innings and the Orioles scored twice on a dropped fly ball in a 4-2 victory over the Texas Rangers.
While they've long been out of the playoff chase, the Orioles still have something to play for over the final three weeks of the season.
"We're trying to do it for us and end on a good note. It's been such a sour middle of the year," right fielder Jay Gibbons said. "And also for our manager, Sam. Everybody wants to win for him, and we want him back."
The Orioles are 17-19 since Sam Perlozzo was named interim manager for the rest of the season after Lee Mazzilli was fired Aug. 4. Baltimore had lost eight straight games and won just one of the previous 15 when Mazzilli was fired.
"They come out and play, no question about it," Perlozzo said. "I haven't had to say a whole lot to them. They've been getting into it. That happens when you get good starting pitching."
Cabrera (10-11) won his second consecutive start since coming off the disabled list. He allowed two runs and six hits, staying in after Kevin Mench led off the second with a line drive that ricocheted off the pitcher's backside.
"Oh yeah, just muscles," Cabrera said. "It hurt, but I'm OK."
It was Mench's fielding error in the top of that inning that led to two Orioles runs.
Baltimore had two runners on after B.J. Surhoff reached on an infield single that hit Rangers starter Edison Volquez (0-3) on the foot. After a walk, David Newhan drove in a run with a grounder and Geronimo Gil hit a fly to right.
Mench initially turned the wrong way, but appeared to recover and got his glove up to make the catch. The ball instead hit off the top of the webbing and rolled into the right-field corner. Two runs scored and Baltimore led 3-1.
"It sliced away from me, that's all," Mench said.
"The ball sails pretty good out there," manager Buck Showalter said. "Kevin usually makes that play."
Cabrera was 0-4 in six starts before going on the disabled list because of a strained muscle in his back. He was hurt while warming up for his scheduled start in Oakland on Aug. 17. In his first start back last Tuesday, the right-hander struck out 10 in seven scoreless innings against Toronto.
Eric DuBose worked 1 1/3 scoreless innings in relief and B.J. Ryan got three straight outs for his 32nd save in 37 tries, his third save in three days.
Volquez, a 22-year-old right-hander making his third career start, threw 83 pitches in four innings. But he gave up just one earned run after allowing 13 earned runs over 6 2/3 innings in his first two starts.
"We hope that one day Edison makes the progress that Cabrera has made," Showalter said.
Even though Baltimore was playing at a stadium that is only about a 20-minute drive from Rafael Palmeiro's home, the first baseman didn't rejoin the team for the series opener.
The Orioles sent Palmeiro home to Texas on Sept. 5 to rehabilitate knee and ankle injuries that plagued him after he returned from his suspension from a positive steroids test. Perlozzo told Palmeiro it wasn't necessary for him to come to the ballpark.
Perlozzo said he still expects Palmeiro, who also played 10 seasons for the Rangers during two stints with the team, to play again this season, but isn't sure when. The Orioles have 19 games remaining.
David Dellucci led off the game for Texas with a triple off the top of the right-field wall and scored on a double by Mark Teixeira. The Rangers didn't get another runner past second base until the sixth.
Teixeira led off the sixth with a single, went to third on Hank Blalock's double and scored on Alfonso Soriano's grounder.
Gil added a sacrifice fly in the ninth.