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
Padres outfielder Matt Kemp hit for the cycle on Friday night against the Rockies at Coors Field. He hit a two-run home run in the first inning, singled to lead off the third, hit an RBI double in the seventh, and hit an RBI triple in the ninth. It’s the first cycle in Padres history. The Marlins are the only team remaining without a cycle in team history.
Kemp joins Brock Holt, Shin-Soo Choo, and Adrian Beltre on the list of players to hit for the cycle this season. He’s the first National Leaguer to hit for the cycle since Michael Cuddyer on August 17 last year.
Kemp is currently on a seven-game hitting streak. He’s been much improved in the second half, carrying a .305/.370/.537 batting line with five home runs and 20 RBI in 108 plate appearances since the All-Star break.
“He’s a triple short of the cycle” is something that seems a lot more impressive than it actually is, because a) there are several hundred games per season in which a hitter has a single, a double, and a home run, and b) hitting the triple is by far the most difficult part to completing a cycle.
And last night Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo did it, tripling in the ninth inning at Coors Field to complete the eighth cycle in team history.
Choo came into the game hitting just .226 with a .694 OPS in 82 games, including just one triple in 353 plate appearances.