ARLINGTON -- The Tigers needed 14 hits to score two runs off Rangers left-hander Cole Hamels, but that was enough to beat the American League West leaders, 2-0, on Saturday night at Globe Life Park.
A night after scoring eight runs and hitting four homers, the Rangers were held scoreless on two hits against Tigers starter Matt Boyd, who turned in a career-high seven innings. Boyd is 4-0 with a 2.16 ERA in six starts since rejoining the starting rotation on July 9.
Francisco Rodriguez threw a scoreless ninth to pick up his 33rd save of the season as Detroit ended its five-game losing streak.
"We competed to the end of this game and tried to make something happen," Hamels said. "Their pitcher did a great job. He really kept us off balance."
Victor Martinez drove in the Tigers' first run on their 10th hit with an RBI single in the fifth. An inning later, third baseman Casey McGehee added an RBI double in a 4-for-5 effort. The Tigers, who remain 1 1/2 games behind the Red Sox for the second AL Wild Card spot, left 13 men on base -- one short of their season-high.
The 14 hits allowed were a career-high for Hamels, who was still able to pick up his fifth quality start in six outings since the All-Star break. He gave up just the two runs and struck out five with three walks, one intentional, over seven innings. The Rangers' offense didn't do much to back him, picking up only three hits, but their defense played a big part in minimizing the damage.
"Look, this was a group of guys with the Tigers that swing the bat pretty well. There's potential danger up and down their lineup, and I think [Hamels] maneuvered [well]," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "Gritty performance by Cole. We were unable to get him any run support.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED V-Mart breaks through: After leaving the bases loaded in the second inning, two on in the third and making two outs on the basepaths in the fourth, the Tigers finally cracked the scoreboard with three straight singles leading off the fifth. The RBI went to Martinez, who took advantage of a 2-0 count and sent a ground ball back through the middle. McGehee, who went first to third on Cabrera's single three pitches earlier, scored easily.
Rangers cooled off:Mitch Moreland's two-out double in the second inning was the last hit the Rangers collected until Adrian Beltre singled to lead off the ninth. Moreland was also the only Rangers baserunner to reach scoring position in the game. Beltre had both of the Rangers' other hits, including a single in the first, as they were shut out for the sixth time this season.
"I'm not sure it was deception as much as the quality pitches he made," Banister said of Boyd. "He changed speeds just enough to make our guys off balance, not much hard hit off him."
Four-hit McGehee: Tigers manager Brad Ausmus didn't have many logical options to bat second with Jose Iglesias injured and a left-hander on the mound for Texas, so he went with McGehee. All the Minor League signee did was produce four hits in his first four at-bats. The last of them was the biggest, sending a line-drive double into the right-field corner to score Dixon Machado from first base for a sixth-inning insurance run.
"Every win's important, and to be able to do anything to help a win, that's where the satisfaction lies," McGehee said. More >
Choo and Profar to the rescue: With the game still scoreless, the Tigers' Mike Aviles led off the fourth inning with a walk. Jarrod Saltalamacchia followed with a single to left fielder Jurickson Profar, who cut down Aviles trying to go from first to third. Two batters later, Ian Kinsler hit a blooper down the right-field line that Shin-Soo Choo was unable to catch after a sliding effort. Choo recovered in time to throw out Saltalamacchia, who was running from first, at the plate thanks to a full-extension, diving tag from catcher Jonathan Lucroy.
"That was unbelievable," Hamels said. "To have those big saves right there kept us within reason."
"I liked how quick he was. He really came after you with his pitch and kept firing away. It was more like a Cliff Lee approach. If he's able to continue doing that, he's going to have a pretty good career. Especially with that lineup protecting him, he's going to get a lot of wins." -- Hamels, on Boyd
"The one thing I've found out as a manager is that you never have enough runs." -- Ausmus
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Hamels set not only his career-high with 14 hits allowed, but he matched the Rangers' club record set by left-hander Matt Harrison on April 27, 2012, against the Rays.
AFTER FURTHER REVIEW
The Tigers challenged a call that Aviles' was picked off at first base to end the seventh inning, but replay showed no conclusive proof that Aviles got his hand to the bag ahead of Moreland's tag, so the call was allowed to stand.
WHAT'S NEXT Tigers: AL Rookie of the Year candidate Michael Fulmer (9-3, 2.43 ERA) expects 40-50 family members and friends to make the trip from his native Oklahoma City to watch him start Sunday's series finale at Globe Life Park. Fulmer is winless in his last five outings, all of them quality starts.
Rangers: Right-hander A.J. Griffin will start the series finale for the Rangers at 2:05 p.m. CT on Sunday. He has a 6.39 ERA in his last six starts, but the Rangers have won four of those outings.