Cole Hamels had his best start as a member of the Rangers last night, tossing eight innings of one-run ball as part of a 4-1 victory over the Orioles. That’s the sort of ace performance they had in mind when they acquired him from the Phillies last month.
Hamels walked four batters, including one with the bases loaded, but he held the Orioles to just two hits while notching 10 strikeouts. The southpaw retired 14 batters in a row at one point. Shawn Tolleson tossed a scoreless ninth inning for his 27th save of the season while Shin-Soo Choo and Chris Gimenez each hit solo home runs.
Hamels owns a 3.69 ERA and 33/15 K/BB ratio in 34 2/3 innings over five starts since joining Texas.
At 66-61, the Rangers are currently a half-game (one up in the loss column) over the Twins for the second Wild Card spot in the American League. The Orioles have lost eight out of nine to fall 3 1/2 games back in the Wild Card race.
Your Friday box scores and AP recaps:
Tigers 3, Blue Jays 5
Marlins 4, Nationals 3
Angels 1, Indians 3
Padres 1, Phillies 7
Red Sox 6, Mets 4 (10 innings)
Yankees 15, Braves 4
Royals 3, Rays 2
Rockies 3, Pirates 5
Orioles 1, Rangers 4
Reds 0, Brewers 5
Athletics 4, Diamondbacks 6
Mariners 2, White Sox 0
Cubs 1, Dodgers 4
Astros 0, Twins 3
Cardinals 4, Giants 5
The Rangers were given quite the scare this afternoon when closer Shawn Tolleson was barreled into by fellow reliever Keone Kela, who was shagging fly balls during batting practice. You can watch the video of the freak accident here.
Fortunately, Tolleson managed to avoid injury. According to Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram, he’s in the bullpen and available for tonight’s game against the Yankees.
Tolleson, 27, owns a 3.19 ERA and 42/8 K/BB ratio over 42 1/3 innings this season. He has been great since taking over the closer role from Neftali Feliz in May, going 17-for-18 in save chances.
UPDATE: Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports that Feliz has elected free agency. Teams shied away from claiming him because of his remaining salary, but he should draw plenty of interest now that he’s free to sign anywhere. It’s also worth noting that he’s arbitration-eligible for 2016.
6:26 p.m. ET: 29 teams passed on Rangers right-hander Neftali Feliz, as Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports that the former American League Rookie of the Year Award winner went through waivers unclaimed. He can choose whether to accept an outright assignment to the minors or opt for free agency.
Feliz was recently designated for assignment by the Rangers after posting a disappointing 4.58 ERA and 16/9 K/BB ratio over 19 2/3 innings this season. The 27-year-old began the year in the closer role, but Rangers manager Jeff Banister moved away from him in mid-May and Shawn Tolleson has since emerged as the team’s top option.
While Feliz still has the name recognition based on his early promise, he hasn’t been the same pitcher since his Tommy John surgery in 2012. He’s still owed a little over $2 million for the remainder of the season, so it’s not all that surprising that nobody took a chance on him.
Rangers right-hander Neftali Feliz is back from the disable list after missing the past six weeks with an axillary abscess on his right side, but he won’t be stepping back into the closer role.
In his extended absence Shawn Tolleson grabbed hold of ninth-inning duties, converting 11 straight save chances with a 1.65 ERA since May 20, so Feliz will be worked back into the bullpen mix as a setup man.
And that role suits him better at this point anyway, because the former Rookie of the Year winner and All-Star closer hasn’t been the same since undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery and struggled this season before going on the disabled list.
Twins outfield prospect Byron Buxton didn’t get a hit in his major league debut on Sunday, going 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts, but still managed to make an impact. He scored the Twins’ go-ahead and eventual game-winning run from first base in the top of the ninth inning against the Rangers.
Eduardo Escobar had led off the top of the inning with a double, but was caught between second and third base when Buxton tapped a grounder back to reliever Shawn Tolleson. Brian Dozier popped up in the infield for the second out, leaving Buxton on first base. Eddie Rosario then ripped a 2-0 off-speed pitch from Tolleson into the gap in right-center. Buxton read it perfectly and scored easily from first base to put the Twins up 4-3, the score by which they would go on to win.