Saturday, June 18, 2016

Hamels outduels Wacha; Odor's HR the difference

Left-hander Cole Hamels won a brilliant pitching duel against Cardinals right-hander Michael Wacha on Friday night, as the Rangers held on for a 1-0 victory at Busch Stadium. Texas won its fourth straight, while St. Louis has lost three in a row.
Hamels went 7 2/3 innings and allowed three hits and three walks while striking out six. Matt Bush, with a runner on first, got the last out in the eighth, and Sam Dyson earned his 12th save with a scoreless ninth. This was the Rangers' first 1-0 win since Sept. 7, 2014, and Texas pitchers have now allowed just one run in their last 23 innings.
"Great pitching by Cole," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "A great mix of pitches, threw his fastball for strikes ... all his pitches were in play. Kept those guys off-balance ... a great performance by Cole and our guys played great defense."
The only run came in the fifth when Rougned Odor, leading off the inning, hit a first-pitch fastball over the center-field wall for a home run. Wacha was outstanding otherwise, allowing six hits and two walks while striking out seven over 7 2/3 innings, but he has now lost seven straight decisions.
"Michael was great," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "He did a nice job staying consistent. The changeup was just a great pitch for him tonight. It's just a shame we couldn't get it going."
Odor pads homer lead: The Rangers have five players with at least 10 home runs, but Odor continues to lead the way with his 13th of the year. Odor has hit six in his last 14 games.
"Let's call him an all-around good hitter who hits the ball out of the ballpark on occasion," Banister said.
Safe, but no cigar: Matt Carpenter singled to lead off the fourth inning and was called out on a force play at second base that allowed Aledmys Diaz to reach safely. Diaz stole second and Stephen Piscotty walked, but Jhonny Peralta flied out to right field to end the threat. Diaz was the only Cardinals runner to reach second base.
"You have to give credit to that guy," Diaz said of Hamels. "You have to be able to make an adjustment, and I think that's just part of the game. He definitely beat us today."
Mazara breaks hitless streak: After two hitless at-bats against Wacha, Rangers outfielderNomar Mazara delivered a single in the sixth inning to snap an 0-for-23 skid. Mazara added an eighth-inning infield single.
"Anytime you are in a little bit of a slide, to get a couple of hits no matter how, there is always a lot of feel-good," Banister said. "The approach is still good."
Wacha's night wasted: Wacha still hasn't won a game since April 28. He has lost seven straight decisions, but a quick look at the stat sheet shows he's improving. His 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball vs. Texas marked his best start since May 3, when he gave up one run on five hits in eight innings against Philadelphia.
"I think it was up there for sure," Wacha said when asked if it was his best outing of the season. "Just the way I was attacking guys and the way the pitches were moving coming out of my hand. It felt good."
"Great ballpark, great fans. I've got great memories of this place, more so than Texas. … Maybe I can take some of that mojo and instill it in everybody." -- Hamels, on pitching in St. Louis
Rangers: Right-hander Nick Martinez will make his first start of the season at 3:15 p.m. CT on Saturday when he faces the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Martinez is filling in for Yu Darvish, who is on the disabled list with discomfort in his right shoulder.
Cardinals: Carlos Martinez will make his first career start against the Rangers on Saturday. He has won his last three starts with a 1.61 ERA over that span, but is 0-2 with a 2.55 ERA in six Interleague appearances. First pitch is scheduled for 3:15 p.m. CT.

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