Texas Rangers

Rangers overcome another struggling start in narrow win

Elvis Andrus provides defense, offense in Rangers' win

Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus made two key defensive plays Friday and had the game-tying triple in a 6-5 win over the Twins (video by Jeff Wilson).
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Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus made two key defensive plays Friday and had the game-tying triple in a 6-5 win over the Twins (video by Jeff Wilson).

It was a game calling for an ace. The Texas Rangers, losers of five of their past six games, needed Cole Hamels to be the pitcher that he’s been for most of the past year.

It didn’t happen and the Rangers’ offense was again fending for itself as their starter struggled to put up much of a fight for the seventh consecutive game. The bullpen, however, combined for another scoreless outing and the Rangers snapped a two-game losing streak with two runs in the sixth for a 6-5 win Friday against the Minnesota Twins at Globe Life Park.

It’s the first time a major league team has had starters fail to go at least five innings in seven consecutive games since the Colorado Rockies in 2012.

It was the first time Hamels has gone less than five innings in consecutive starts since last July before he was traded to the Rangers.

It’s the seventh consecutive game the Rangers’ starter failed to go at least five innings. It’s the first time a major league team has had starters fail to go at least five innings in seven consecutive games since the Colorado Rockies in 2012.

The past week has been so poor from the mound that two position players took turns trying to protect the bullpen.

We need professional starts and we’re going to find where those professional starts are for us.

Rangers manager Jeff Banister

After the game, the Rangers announced Triple A Round Rock right-hander Kyle Lohse, 37, was called up to start Saturday’s game. Right-hander Nick Martinez was optioned to Round Rock, along with Chi Chi Gonzalez.

Left-hander Alex Claudio was called up for bullpen help in place of Gonzalez.

Lohse, who last pitched in the majors with the Brewers in 2015, is 3-5 with a 5.06 ERA for Round Rock. He’s allowed five earned runs combined in his past two starts of six and seven innings. He’s spent 14 seasons in the majors since 2001.

Rangers ace Cole Hamels knows the damage from his past two starts but also knows that he has been in this spot before in his career (video by Jeff Wilson).

“We need professional starts and we’re going to find where those professional starts are for us,” manager Jeff Banister said after the game. “This is a production league. If you’re a starting pitcher you need to be able to get your club in a position capable of winning, keep games close.”

Banister said Martinez and Gonzalez are still options after the All-Star break.

Cole Hamels tied a career high with six walks and has allowed 10 earned runs in his past two starts.

“They’re obviously still in that mix for us to start,” he said. “but we have to be better in that category than we have been lately. We’re going to give an opportunity for Lohse to come up here and give us the best professional start he possibly can.”

Hamels tied a career high with six walks and has allowed 10 earned runs in his past two starts. He threw 72 pitches through three innings and finished with 109.

Rangers manager Jeff Banister discusses the job the bullpen did behind Cole Hamels' second consecutive subpar start Friday night (Video by Stefan Stevenson/Star-Telegram).

After Miguel Sano’s three-run homer with one out in the fifth, Hamels walked the next two batters, including Kennys Vargas on four pitches.

Tony Barnette replaced him and earned the win with 2 2/3 innings of scoreless, one-hit relief. Matt Bush pitched a scoreless eighth and Sam Dyson earned his 18th save with a scoreless ninth.

“I think they were all big from our bullpen tonight,” Banister said. “Tony has been very good for us in similar situations. I think his biggest inning was his last. We needed for him to get through that so we could get to Bush and Dyson.”

It’s nothing that I pride myself on, the last two starts, but I know it’s easy to forget I’ve been there before and I’ve had situations I’ve had to overcome.

Cole Hamels

Hamels was 5-0 in games following a Rangers loss until Sunday against the Twins. He didn’t earn the loss Friday but since joining the Rangers in July, Hamels is 5-1 in eight starts following a Texas loss.

“It’s nothing that I pride myself on, the last two starts, but I know it’s easy to forget I’ve been there before and I’ve had situations I’ve had to overcome,” Hamels said.

“I have to get back to being aggressive. I feel like everything is there. I physically feel great. It’s just a matter of locating each and every pitch I have to both sides of the zone and stay focused on that.”

Cole Hamels needed 33 pitches in the first inning Friday and didn't make it out of the fifth inning for a second straight start (video by Jeff Wilson).

Rangers manager Jeff Banister says violence never solves anything in the wake of Dallas shootings (Video by Stefan Stevenson/Star-Telegram).

Rangers reliever Keone Kela is expected to throw an inning Sunday and Monday for Double A Frisco and then rejoin club in Chicago for Cubs series (Video by Stefan Stevenson/Star-Telegram).

Rangers DH Prince Fielder said although athletes and sports are an escape the tragic shootings in Dallas are too serious of an issue to 'escape.' (Video by Stefan Stevenson/Star-Telegram).

Rangers left-hander Derek Holland, who played catch today for the first time since going on the disabled list, reflects on the shootings in downtown Dallas Thursday night (Video by Stefan Stevenson/Star-Telegram).

For starters, starters have struggled

Starter

Date

Lasted

Chi Chi Gonzalez

July 2

2/3

Cole Hamels

Sunday

4

Nick Martinez

Monday

4 1/3

A.J. Griffin

Tuesday

4

Martin Perez

Wednesday

4

Gonzalez

Thursday

4 2/3

Hamels

Friday

4 1/3

Stefan Stevenson: 817-390-7760, @StevensonFWST

Rangers vs. Twins

8:05 p.m. Saturday, FSSW

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