By Chris Vannini and James Schmehl
Special to MLB.com |
DETROIT -- Cole Hamels shut down Detroit in a 5-1 Rangers win on Friday night at Comerica Park as Texas halted a three-game losing streak, while the Tigers' skid reached four.
Hamels moved to 4-0 on the season after pitching seven scoreless innings, striking out nine and allowing just one hit. Meanwhile, Jordan Zimmermann suffered his first loss with the Tigers, giving up three earned runs over eight innings. Entering Friday, Zimmermann had a Major League-best 0.55 ERA, allowing two earned runs over his previous 33 innings.
It was a bounce-back performance for Hamels, who had allowed four earned runs over five innings in his previous start. He gave up a leadoff single in the first inning, but allowed just a pair of walks the rest of his outing.
"This is why we have [Hamels]. This is why he's part of the ballclub," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "He's our ace. He's the guy we looked to to be that stopper as a starter -- to halt any kind of slide, and that's exactly what he did."
The Rangers' offense strung together a series of two-out hits in the second to plate a pair of runs, giving them a lead they never relinquished. Rougned Odor homered in the fifth to push it to 3-0, and he doubled home two more insurance runs in the ninth.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Odor swinging hot bat: Odor turned on a 92-mph fastball and launched a solo homer off Zimmermann in the fifth inning. It was the team-high fifth home run for Odor, who went 3-for-5 and added a two-run double. Odor is batting 16-for-42 (.381) in his last 10 games.
"We look to Rougie to be a force in the lineup," Banister said. "Early on, it was a little sporadic, but he's found a nice little rhythm." More >
Zimmermann struggles to finish: All three runs Zimmermann allowed came with two outs. After two groundouts to open the second inning, Zimmermann allowed a single, a double and a single for two runs. It marked the first time this season Zimmermann allowed more than one run in a single inning. In the fifth, Odor's homer also came with two outs. More >
"I made one mistake, the fastball to Odor. That was the only real mistake all night," Zimmermann said. "[Bobby] Wilson got that RBI on a curveball that was in the other batter's box and was going to bounce. He pretty much threw his bat at it. I can't be disappointed with my outing tonight. It's baseball, and it's going to happen."
Hamels whiffs nine Tigers: Hamels put his two- and four-seam fastball on display, finishing with a season high in K's. He struck out the side in the fifth, needing just 15 pitches. Hamels threw 73 of his 113 pitches for strikes, and he got Nick Castellanos to watch a called third strike with his final pitch of the night in the seventh inning.
"We had a really good game plan," Hamels said. "It was all about trying to execute pitches, and not be too fine." More >
Rangers strike first: Texas grabbed an early 2-0 lead in the second inning, highlighted by Elvis Andrus' two-out RBI double to the wall in right-center. Mitch Moreland beat Ian Kinsler's relay throw home to break a scoreless tie. Former Tigers catcher Wilson, who was traded back to the Rangers in late April, followed with an RBI single off Zimmermann.
"The way our lineup stretched out tonight and the production we got was nice to see," Banister said. "It was something that we've been looking for, that we haven't gotten through this little stretch."
"It was different. I was on the plane with [Detroit] a couple days ago. We were talking about where we should go to eat. But now I'm back here. It was good to see those guys. They were good to me. But, like I said, it's about winning here now." -- Wilson, on facing his former team
"There's not a ton you can do with the lineup. They will hit. These guys will hit. It's frustrating for the team when you know you can hit and it's not going the way you would hope. In the long run, this team is going to hit. I said it from Day 1, and I still believe it." -- Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, on the Tigers scoring just eight runs during this four-game losing streak
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Hamels extended his win streak to 11 -- one shy of the club record held by Bobby Witt (1990). Hamels' career-high streak is the second-longest active streak in the Majors behind Chicago's Jake Arrieta (17).
WHAT'S NEXT Rangers: Coming off a nine-strikeout start, A.J. Griffin will look to start the season 4-0 on Saturday when Texas continues its three-game series at Comerica Park against the Tigers. The 28-year-old right-hander has allowed only one run in three of his five starts this season. First pitch is scheduled for 12:10 p.m. CT.
Tigers:Mike Pelfrey will take the mound for the Tigers, looking for his first win of the season at 1:10 p.m. ET. He finally got some run support in his last outing, against the Twins, but allowed five earned runs over four innings in a no-decision.