Masterful Hamels a stabilizing force for Texas

Lefty, along with Perez, helping Rangers succeed while rotation deals with injuries

Masterful Hamels a stabilizing force for Texas

NEW YORK -- Rangers left-hander Cole Hamels added to his already impressive All-Star credentials with seven scoreless innings in a 7-1 victory over the Yankees on Tuesday night.

But the Rangers aren't concerned with who is going to be in San Diego in two weeks, although they acknowledge it would be great if Hamels did get to pitch in his hometown for the American League All-Star team.

What's more important for the Rangers is how Hamels and Martin Perez are keeping the rotation together in this time of crisis.

"You can't say enough about either one," manager Jeff Banister said. "They have been great stabilizers. Masterful job by Cole."

Hamels, at a time when fellow starters Colby Lewis, Derek Holland and Yu Darvish are on the disabled list, won his fourth straight start with a 0.65 ERA while holding opponents to a .184 batting average.

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"I'm just mainly trying to be aggressive," Hamels said. "This team has tremendous defense, so you know if you get a ground ball, they're going to get it. And I have the utmost confidence we are going to score runs. It's just a matter of keeping us within reach. That's what I focus on, locating all four of my pitches for strikes and challenging these guys. I'm just trying to stay with a good approach.

Perez has been able to hold up his end, going 6-0 with a 3.40 ERA in his last seven starts. But Hamels continues to pitch like a No. 1 starter after allowing six hits and one walk while striking out seven in earning his first career win against the Yankees.

"I've seen him a lot and he was as good as I've seen him." Yankees third baseman Chase Headley said.

"That's what aces do," Rangers catcher Bobby Wilson said. "Aces step up every fifth day and give you their best game. That's what Cole does, and we feed off that. If he's not an All-Star Game pitcher it's a shame, because he is one of the best pitchers in the game."

The Rangers were also able to get him out of there after just 86 pitches, the third straight start he's finished with under 100 pitches thrown. Hamels is carrying the rotation right now, but he's not doing it under the duress of an excessive workload.

"He's awesome," outfielder Ian Desmond said. "He competes, works fast, pitches in the zone. He's a fielder's dream. That's what our pitchers have been doing as a whole, trusting their stuff and having confidence in the defense behind them."

As far as those All-Star credentials go, Hamels is 9-1 with a 2.60 ERA after 16 starts. Hamels still has two starts to go before the All-Star break, but that's currently the fifth-lowest ERA by a Rangers starter in the first half in club history.

Right now the most important thing is helping stabilize the rotation. Once Hamels is done with the All-Star break, the Rangers will start getting some of their other starters back. Hamels and Perez allow them to be patient in that regard.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.