Tonight ushered in a brave new world where Texas ran out like half a Round Rock lineup. It was tough going for the youngsters as they faced a pitcher who absolutely shoved.
Houston starter Gerrit Cole had a real Yu Darvishian outing tonight for the Astros as he allowed just one hit through the first six innings of the game, walked just one all night, and struck out 14 Rangers in his seven innings of work.
However, staked to a 2-0 lead, Cole allowed a couple of solo home runs and doomed his chances of picking up a win for his effort. For a brief moment, it was neat.
Luckily for Texas, Cole Hamels was mostly up to the task of matching Cole (of the Gerrit variety) despite once again allowing a leadoff home run to George Springer just as he did on Opening Day. Springer followed with another solo home run in the fifth to give the Astros a cushion but Hamels never broke despite bending.
On the night, Hamels allowed those two runs on six hits while walking two and striking out seven. If George Springer didn’t exist, it would have been a fantastic outing for Hamels. Alas, Springer does exist so we’ll have to settle for probably the best outing by a Rangers starter this season instead.
It was all for naught, however, as Drew Robinson flubbed a base hit to center field with a runner on first base which allowed what was to be the eventual game winning run to score on a three-base error.
There are three phases to baseball and the Rangers can’t seem to have a game where one or two of them outshines the others enough to let them overcome their issues. The deficiencies in the field overtook what was ultimately one of their better pitched games of the season with an assist from an offense that still scored only two runs.
Player of the Game: Sure Hamels had the second quality start by a Rangers starter all year, and Joey Gallo joined forces with Robinson Chirinos to momentarily tie the game with solo shots in the top of the seventh, but for me, the stars tonight were Isiah Kiner-Falefa collecting the first hit of his big league career on an infield single to end any thoughts of a Cole no-hitter and Condor Guzman collecting his first big league hit on a lined single to right field to give the Rangers hope in the ninth.
Up Next: The Rangers and Astros reconvene for an afternoon affair in Houston with Mike Minor set to take the mound against Charlie Morton. First pitch from Minute Maid is scheduled for 3:05 pm CT.