Colby Lewis has received much of the acclaim for his exceptional start to the season.
His near-perfect game Thursday afternoon in Oakland was another reminder that Lewis deserves strong All-Star Game consideration and that he has been the steadiest arm in the Rangers’ rotation.
But Cole Hamels, the ace of the staff, hasn’t been too shabby either. He showed it again Friday night against the St. Louis Cardinals.
I feel like I was really down in the zone and on the outside parts of the zone and wasn’t really down the heart of the plate much. When you do that you’re not going to give up the runs and the big hits.
Rangers pitcher Cole Hamels
Since struggling in a start May 27 (five earned runs in 4 2/3 innings), Hamels has allowed just six runs in his past 28 2/3 innings, including 7 2/3 scoreless innings in the Rangers’ 1-0 win over the Cardinals.
“We’re trying to push each other and help this team out as best we can and if we’re able to do our job we know the offense is going to pick us up at times,” said Hamels, who improved to 7-1. “We’re both veterans in this game. We have a lot of experience. We can feed off of each other. We’re not letting it get to us if it doesn’t go as planned. When you do get rolling it’s fun to do it with another guy. Any time some guy does well before you, you have that confidence that I can do that too.”
It’s the 14th 1-0 win on a solo homer in Rangers history and first since Ian Kinsler homered in a 1-0 win on Aug. 28, 2012 against the Rays.
Cardinals’ starter Michael Wacha matched Hamels pitch for pitch except for his first of the fifth inning. Rougned Odor belted the 92 mph fastball to deep center field for a home run to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead.
Both had thrown 87 pitches in the first seven innings.
In the eighth, Wacha recorded two quick outs before running into trouble with a walk and infield single by Nomar Mazara. Ian Desmond was running on Mazara’s soft roller to shortstop and advanced to third base when he noticed the third baseman was too far off the bag to take a throw. Wacha was replaced by Seung Hwan Oh to face Beltre, who popped out to end the threat.
In the bottom of the inning, Hamels also recorded two quick outs before former TCU star Matt Carpenter singled softly through the left side. Matt Bush replaced Hamels and got Aledmys Diaz to pop out to center to end the inning.
Hamels allowed three hits, three walks and struck out six. Carpenter had two of the hits and two of the walks. The rest of the Cardinals’ lineup was 1 for 27. The only time he was in any kind of trouble was the fourth. Carpenter led off with a single but was thrown out on a fielder’s choice. With two outs, Hamels walked Stephen Piscotty to put runners on first and second before getting Jhonny Peralta to fly out to right.
“His pitches were down and he established it early,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “He continued to pound the strike zone down. The changeup and breaking ball were big pitches for him tonight to keep these hitters off-balance.”
Things have been working well and all my pitches are doing what I want them to do.
Hamels has been outstanding in June. He’s allowed only six runs over four starts.
“When you start to feel things clicking later in the game it’s a great feeling,” he said. “You can’t wait to get back out there again. Things have been working well and all my pitches are doing what I want them to do. It’s just a matter of now going out there and executing pitches because when you have the purpose behind it, then it’s just about letting it happen. I think that’s what I’ve been able to build off every game so far this month.”
In the Rangers’ past two games, Lewis and Hamels have combined to allow one run on five hits and four walks with 10 strikeouts over 16 2/3 innings
“They’re both studs,” said closer Sam Dyson, who earned his 12th save with a perfect ninth. “You got the lefty, you got the righty and they go out there and dominate. It’s awesome.”
Rangers at Cardinals
3:15 p.m. today, FS1