Rangers 4, Angels 1
- You know your starting pitcher is really good when a 6 IP, 1 run outing feels kind of "meh." Cole Hamels took the ball tonight, gave up a first inning run courtesy of a single, walk, ground out and ground out, and then kept the Angels off the board the rest of the way. The Angels had a baserunner in every inning against Hamels except one, but Hamels induced three GIDPs and wasn't really in much danger after the first inning.
- The final line for Hamels: 6 IP, 4 hits, 3 walks, 4 Ks, 1 run. Hamels had 95 pitches (56 strikes) through 6 IP, and with the lower part of the lineup due up for Anaheim in the 7th, and a pitcher likely being sent down tomorrow, I figured Jeff Banister would look to get another inning from Hamels, but Banister went to Keone Kela in the 7th.
- Kela threw a shutout inning in the 7th with a pair of Ks, and I have to say, his 3-2 curveball to freeze C.J. Cron for a called strike three to start the inning was as cold-blooded a pitch I've seen. Just a nasty, vicious breaker that bent over the middle of the plate and had Cron unable to pull the trigger. Kela is legit. But then, you already knew that.
- Sam Dyson and Shawn Tolleson each had scoreless innings, Dyson the 8th and Tolleson the 9th. Dyson was in the upper-90s again and got ground balls, and Tolleson looked more like his old self today.
- The lineup had an early change when Shin-Soo Choo injured his calf in warmups and was lifted from the lineup for Ryan Rua. Robinson Chirinos then took a ball off his forearm during his at bat in the top of the fifth, and while he finished his at bat (and flew out to deep right), he was in obvious pain (with what we now know was a broken forearm), and was lifted for Bryan Holaday. That left the Rangers with one player on their bench -- Hanser Alberto. And it looked like Alberto might be needed tonight, as Elvis Andrus had his hand stepped on while diving headfirst into home in the top of the fourth, and it appeared initially that he might have to leave the game. Adding insult to injury on the Elvis play, Elvis was called out at home, and though Banister challenged the call and replay appeared to show he was safe, the call stood.
- Texas took the lead early in the game, putting a run on the board in the first inning with a Delino DeShields double and a Prince Fielder RBI single. Adrian Beltre's home run in the fourth inning gave Texas a 2-1 lead, and the Rangers pushed a pair of insurance runs across in the 7th, with Elvis scoring one after reaching on an error and then scoring on a Holaday double, and then Odor singling Holaday home with the final run.
- With 10 hits (including 5 doubles and a homer) and a walk, plus a runner reaching on an error, this felt like a game where we could be getting half-price pizza tomorrow, and there's a mild sense of letdown that Texas scored "only" four runs. But with the pitchers keeping Anaheim off the board after the single run in the first, 4 runs was plenty, so let's save the other hypothetical possible runs for a later date.
- In the meantime, this is a nice win that gets the team back to .500, but there's something of a pall over things, given the injuries to Chirinos and Choo. Hopefully, both guys will be back soon, and their replacements will do work in their absence.