Thursday, June 23, 2016

Hamels continues dominance of Reds

Backed by a four-run fourth inning, Cole Hamels struck out eight and allowed one run in six innings as the Rangers defeated the Reds, 6-4, to split the two-game series Wednesday night at Globe Life Park. .
Hamels continued his dominance against the Reds dating back to his time with the Phillies, and he is now 10-1 with a 1.93 ERA against them in 15 career starts. Hamels left with a 4-1 lead, and Ian Desmond's seventh-inning home run against J.J. Hoover was the difference when Eugenio Suarez hit a three-run home run off left-hander Jake Diekman in the eighth.
The Rangers finished their grueling stretch of 20 games in 20 days at 16-4.
"No matter how you do it, no matter how well it looked on paper, we're getting the job done. It's about getting the [win]," Hamels said. "We're playing as a team. No one in this clubhouse is trying to do more than what they're capable of doing. No one is trying to be selfish. Probably the most positive vibes I've experienced day in and day out."
Shin-Soo Choo's opposite-field home run in the eighth off Tony Cingrani gave the Rangers a little breathing room. It was Choo's second homer of the season. Right-hander Sam Dysoncame on in the ninth to pick up his 15th save.
"It was huge," Adrian Beltre said of Choo's homer. "The bullpen has been really good, normally one run does it, but to to get one more insurance [run] was good to give Dyson more room to pitch."
Reds starter Dan Straily had matched zeroes with Hamels up until the fourth, when he walked Choo, hit Rougned Odor with a 1-2 pitch and walked Nomar Mazara to lead off the inning. Beltre then drove in Choo with a single up the middle and Prince Fielder followed with a two-run single down the right-field line. Mitch Moreland picked up an RBI on a groundout to round out the scoring in the inning.
"I'm better than that," Straily said. "It's frustrating to have a day like that knowing I'm better than that and I caused that. I lost the game for our team because of something as stupid as a couple hitters where I couldn't find the zone when I wanted to. But yes, it's not just this season. It's who I've always been as a pitcher. I'm never going to be happy with giving up four runs. I'm just not."
Beltre passes Mantle on RBI list: Beltre continued his climb up the all-time RBI list, passing Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle with No. 1,510 on a single up the middle that scored Shin-Soo Choo in the fourth. Beltre is now in sole possession of No. 53 on the list. Next up is former Blue Jays first baseman Carlos Delgado with 1,512. Beltre said after the win he wasn't even aware that he had passed Mantle until he got into the clubhouse.
"Pretty cool," he said. "[Moreland] told me like 10 minutes after the game."
Suarez closes gap: With his long ball to left field on a full count vs. Diekman in the eighth, Suarez helped the Reds narrow a 5-1 deficit to a one-run game. That also ended his 16-game streak without a home run. It was the first time he cleared the fences since June 3 vs. the Nationals. He has 14 homers for the season.
"A 3-2 count, I don't want to strike out again," said Suarez. "I knew he would try to come in like that like Hamels did in the second at-bat. I just tried to hit the ball and put it in play. I didn't try to do too much. I just tried to put it in play, that's it. The swing went perfect. When you don't try too much, you have more chance to see the ball and hit the ball."
Desmond goes deep: Ian Desmond was not in the starting lineup as Ryan Rua made his first start in center. Desmond entered the game on defense in the seventh and hit his 12th home run of the season in the bottom of the inning. The ball went out to dead center andStatcast™ projected the ball landed 429 feet away and an exit velocity of 105 mph.
"I was ready to go in the game. I wasn't really expecting to, but I appreciated the opportunity," Desmond said. "It's always good to kind of check yourself in those pinch-hit roles and see where you're at."
Hitting streak extended: To set up the Reds' first run in the sixth inning, Jay Bruce hit a one-out double to the right field corner. It extended his hitting streak to a season-high eight games. Bruce, who scored on Adam Duvall's RBI single, added a double in the eighth inning. That gave him 17 doubles for the season and five in his last six games.
"It seems like we're in every game. Whether they're on or they're off, they're battling. That kind of sets the tone for us to battle, and that's what we've been able to do." -- Moreland, on the toughness of the Rangers' pitching staff
The Rangers now have a 10-game lead over the Astros in the American League West. This is the fourth time in franchise history the Rangers have a first-place lead of at least 10 games, and it's the first time they've achieved it before September.
Desmond was Hoover's first batter when he hit the homer to begin the bottom of the seventh. Choo was Cingrani's first batter of the eighth when he went deep. Reds relievers have allowed a Major League-leading 13 home runs vs. their first batter faced this season and 53 homers overall. Cincinnati pitchers have also surrendered 44 homers this season in the seventh inning or later.
"The bullpen has been pitching a lot better lately. I'm not going to hang this on the bullpen," Reds manager Bryan Price said.
Reds: With the 10-day, nine-game road trip complete, the Reds return to Great American Ball Park at 7:10 p.m. ET on Thursday and open a four-game series vs. the Padres. John Lamb, who set a career high with eight strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings vs. the Astros on Friday, will make the start vs. San Diego.
Rangers: Right-hander Nick Martinez will get his second start of the season in the series opener against the Red Sox at 7:05 p.m. CT Friday at Globe Life Park. Martinez allowed three runs on six hits in 4 1/3 innings in his first start of the season last Saturday against the Cardinals.

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