It went south fast for the Texas Rangers.
Cole Hamels didn't make it out of the first inning Saturday afternoon as the Tigers rolled to a 7-2 win at Comerica Park.
It's tied for the shortest outing of Hamels' career. He also left after 2/3 innings in a game for the Phillies on June 1, 2010.
Hamels hadn't gone fewer than five innings in his first 17 starts of 2018. His previous shortest outing with the Rangers was a 1 2/3 outing in which he allowed seven runs on seven hits, including two home runs in September 2016.
Saturday's meltdown wasn't all on Hamels. Delino DeShields' error on a line drive with the bases loaded and two outs allowed four unearned runs to score.
"It's tough to see and the ball was knuckling," DeShields said. "It was right at me and just went the other way and I tried to adjust at the last second. You can't be moving when the ball is moving like it was. I should have caught it but I wasn’t expecting it to dart off like that."
Hamels, however, put himself in a tough spot. Nicholas Castellanos' one-out home run started the scoring and consecutive singles by Niko Goodrum and John Hicks made it 2-0. Hamels walked Victor Martinez and Jeimer Candelario to load the bases before Jose Iglesias drove in a run with an infield single that deflected off Hamels' glove. That set up DeShields' error, which was followed by a run-scoring double by Mikie Tahtook to make it 7-0.
That was it for Hamels (4-8), who was replaced by Matt Moore after throwing 41 pitches. Hamels was charged with three earned runs on five hits and two walks and had two strikeouts. Hamels has allowed 18 first-inning runs this season. His next closest is 12 runs allowed in the fifth.
"When Cole came out I thought he was really fresh. The (velocity) was up there with the highest we've seen all year long," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "The two walks really got him into a situation. He had a couple opportunities to get himself out of the inning, including the ball that deflected off his own glove, and the error in center field was really the big blow that hurt us in that inning."
It has a been a rough three-game stretch for Hamels. He's allowed 18 runs (14 earned) on 23 hits (including three homers) in a combined 10 2/3 innings over his past three starts. He's allowed opponents to bat around in an inning in consecutive games.
Moore did his part in saving the bullpen from a long day. He threw 4 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. He allowed two hits, walked four and struck out six. It's his longest outing since he went six innings in a start on June 5. Alex Claudio also threw three innings of scoreless relief.
The Rangers were ready to pitch Ryan Rua, if necessary, to prevent burning another bullpen arm. Rua was warming up as Claudio finished off the eighth.
"I thought Moore and Claudio did a gutsy job," he said. "I was not going to use anymore of our bullpen arms unless we got back into this thing."
Mike Fiers held the Rangers to five hits over six innings. Shin-Soo Choo and Rougned Odor each had two hits, including Odor's solo homer in the sixth that put Texas on the board. Odor's homer followed Adrian Beltre's 401-foot, would-be homer that center fielder JaCoby Jones caught above the wall. Choo extended his on-base streak to 46 games, tying Julio Franco's club record set in 1993. It's the longest such streak in the majors since 2016.
Hamels' shortest Rangers outings
July 7, 2018
Sept. 5, 2016
July 19, 2015
Oct. 1, 2017
Sept. 26, 2017
July 10, 2015