It was a rematch of Opening Day with the Rangers and Astros opening a series and Cole Hamels facing Justin Verlander. George Springer didn’t hit a leadoff dong off Hamels so we could already chalk this one up as a win.
Unlike Opening Day, Hamels was able to keep the Astros off the board and the Rangers eked out a single run off an increasingly tough Verlander. Verlander — who hadn’t lost in his entire nine or so months as a Houston Astro — finally took an L in his previous start in Arizona despite allowing just one run in six innings.
Make that consecutive losses for Verlander and once again despite allowing just one run in six innings. As it turns out, it’s not just the Rangers who have trouble scoring runs for their top starters.
Despite the inverted nature of the overall record for the two teams from Texas, the Rangers are now even with the Astros at 4-4 this season. Texas is also now 3-1 at Minute Maid and have won the last three games against Houston.
The Rangers are coming for that Silver Boot!
Player of the Game: Despite the relentless grip of age beginning to touch Cole Hamels over the last year, year and a half, Hamels remains the Rangers’ best and most consistent pitcher.
Tonight he was vintage Hollywood Hamels going six innings and allowing just one hit while striking out five against a top-tier offense. It was fun watching him match Verlander pitch for pitch.
Bonus PotG: Nomar Mazara continued his torrid month of May by going 2-for-4 with a double and the lone run scored
Up Next: The Rangers and Astros face off once again with Doug Fister set to make the start against RHP Charlie Morton for Houston. First pitch from Minute Maid Park is scheduled for 6:10 pm CT.