ARLINGTON (AP) — Jason Hammel is starting to look more like the pitcher who won 15 games with the World Series champion Chicago Cubs two years ago. On Sunday, he was helped by a bullpen that had just enough to deliver the win.
Hammel struck out 10, Drew Butera and Salvador Perez homered, and the Kansas City Royals held on to beat the Texas Rangers 5-3.
Hammel pitched 5 1/3 shutout innings. He gave up four hits, including three doubles, and two walks.
“A tip of the cap to the bullpen for coming in and covering those innings,” Hammel said. “For a very aggressive team like that, you can get quick outs and get deep into a game if you can execute early.”
Perez and Butera each homered off Cole Hamels (3-5), who allowed five runs on eight hits and three walks in 6 1/3 innings with a season-low two strikeouts.
Hammel (2-5) left with runners on the corners and one out. Jurickson Profar grounded into an inning-ending double play on Tim Hill’s second pitch.
Kelvin Herrera, the last of five Royals relievers, pitched a scoreless ninth inning after allowing a leadoff single for his 11th save in 12 chances.
When Hammel held St. Louis to one run in seven innings to win last Wednesday, it ended a string of 13 winless starts for the 35-year-old. He went into Sunday’s game leading the American League in hits allowed with 71.
“His record doesn’t indicate the way he’s pitched,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “Days that he’s gotten beat, it’s been on two or three pitches. He’s been around the plate extremely consistently the last two.”
The Rangers’ runs came on seventh-inning homers by Joey Gallo, his 15th of the season with one on, and Robinson Chirinos, his seventh.
Texas went 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position, 0 for 7 during the first three innings. In the eighth inning, Jason Adam put runners on the corners with one out before striking out Gallo and getting Rougned Odor to pop to third.
“It’s about being able to calm yourself down, put together a quality at-bat,” Texas manager Jeff Banister said. “But today, Hammel, their guy, I thought made some quality pitches in those situations.”
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