"Today is huge, and that's what we're going to focus on," Hamels said. "You have to sit back and enjoy the moment a little bit."
• Shop for postseason gear
Hamels ended up going seven innings, allowing four runs in on six hits. He did not walk a batter, struck out six and was done after 114 pitches. The Blue Jays led, 4-3, after seven, but Mike Napoli got Hamels off the hook for a potential loss with a game-tying single in the eighth.
"[Hamels] did good," catcher Chris Gimenez said. "We made some mistakes in the first couple of innings, but we continued to battle. He did a good job of keeping us in the game when it could have snowballed on us."
Manager Jeff Banister turned the game over to the bullpen in the bottom of the eighth, and five relievers combined for seven scoreless innings before the Rangers finally pulled it out.
"It was a long game, but that's what happens sometimes," Hamels said. "You just have to grin and bear it. The bullpen definitely kicked into gear and really picked up everybody. I think that was huge, to be able to go out there and limit the damage, especially against the lineup they have. It isn't the easiest lineup."
The Rangers gave Hamels a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, but Josh Donaldson took Hamels deep with a solo home run to center field in the bottom of the inning. The Rangers added one more run in the second, but third baseman Hanser Alberto's error in the bottom of that inning led to two unearned runs.
That made it 3-3, and the Blue Jays went ahead in the fifth on a double by Kevin Pillar and a single by Ben Revere. But Hamels did set down the last eight batters he faced before leaving the game.
"Throughout the game, I had a couple bad pitches," Hamels said. "The pitch to Donaldson, it hung up there and, obviously, I guess he was healthy. Probably one of the hardest-hit balls I've seen in a long time. You're going to have a couple pitches that don't get into the type of zone that you want, and that's what good teams do [with those pitches]. You just have to bear down and grind through it."