Rangers take first of three from Orioles, maintain lead in wild card race
By Josh McSwain
While it wasn’t a no-hitter like he threw against the Cubs, Cole Hamels pitched a gem as the Rangers won the series opener 4-1 over Baltimore. Hamels fanned 10 and allowed just two hits in eight innings of work. After allowing nine runs and five dingers in his first two AL starts, Hamels has been stellar in his last three starts allowing just six runs combined and no longballs. He allowed hits in the second and third innings tonight, with with a wild pitch and a couple walks allowing Baltimore to strike first in the third inning on a bases loaded walk with two outs.
Jul 7, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers right fielder Shin-Soo Choo (17) hits a sacrifice fly to drive in a run in the eighth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Arizona won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
The lead was short-lived as the Rangers showed off some power as Shin-Soo Choo and Chris Gimenez hit solo shots in the fourth and fifth to give Texas a 2-1 lead. Later in the fifth Choo got another run across as he hit into a fielder’s choice to score Hanser Alberto.
With the score at 3-1 in the bottom of the seventh, Delino DeShields hit a two out triple to score Will Venable, who had walked to open the inning.
It was more than enough for Hamels, who had five 1-2-3 innings in this game. Even though he could have gone for the complete game Banister elected to put in Shawn Tolleson in the ninth, who finished it off as he picked up his 27th save of the year. Hamels picked up the win to improve to 2-1 in the American League while Kevin Gausman took the loss and dropped to 2-6.
With this win, the Rangers pull back to within four games of the Astros in the AL west and expand their lead to 1.5 games over the Angels in the division. The upstart Minnesota Twins remain just a half-game behind the Rangers for the second wild card spot with the Rangers at 66-61 the Twins a game behind in the loss column at 66-62. The fading Orioles have lost eight of their last nine, including a sweep at the hands of the Twins, to fall to their current record of 63-65. They are tied with Tampa Bay in the AL east, both 3.5 games behind the Rangers in the Wild Card race.