BALTIMORE - Rookie Josh Bell's best day in the majors coincided with the worst performance of Cliff Lee's big league career.
Bell hit his first two home runs, part of an unprecedented long-ball barrage against Lee that carried the Baltimore Orioles past the slumping Texas Rangers, 8-6, Saturday.
Ty Wigginton and Luke Scott also connected against Lee, who never before yielded four homers in a game. The left-hander has given up 13 home runs this season — seven against Baltimore.
Lee (10-7) had gone five starts since July 22 without surrendering a homer. He allowed a career-high tying eight runs, 10 hits and a walk in 52/3 innings.
“They hit some good pitches and they hit some pitches I left over the plate,” Lee said. “I missed my location several times and they made me pay for it.”
It was the first time this season he failed to go at least six innings.
“I just want to work deep and keep my team in the game. Obviously I didn’t do that,” said Lee, now 2-4 with Texas since being acquired from Seattle on July 9.
Bell began the onslaught with a two-run shot in the third. Wigginton and Scott homered in succession in the fourth, and later in the inning Bell connected with two on for a 7-2 lead.
Bell went 3-for-4, drove in five runs and scored three times. He missed a third homer with a drive to right that hit high off the 7-foot wall.
Bell, the No. 9 hitter in the lineup, came in batting .216 with no homers and four RBI in his first 74 major league at-bats.
“I’m just trying to take every day as a positive, help the team win,” Bell said. “It feels good to be a part of that, to get one and two out of the way — especially off a guy like that.”
Bell got the two home run balls back from the fans who caught them, trading a bat and a ball for each souvenir.