ARLINGTON (AP) – Cole Hamels gets to go home for the All-Star Game, a much-deserved honor for the Texas Rangers left-hander despite his struggles in consecutive games against the Minnesota Twins.
Hamels matched a career high with six walks while throwing 109 pitches in 4 1-3 innings, but Rougned Odor and Elvis Andrus had RBI triples as the Rangers rallied for a 6-5 victory Friday night.
“When you walk the amount of guys that I walked today, it’s nothing that I take very lightly, it’s something that’s very frustrating,” said Hamels, who was trailing when he left the game but had a no-decision. “I just wasn’t really getting ahead of hitters early and making them uncomfortable.”
Still, Hamels and center fielder Ian Desmond will represent the Rangers in the All-Star Game in San Diego next week.
Hamels, who lost with just four innings of work last Sunday at Minnesota, isn’t the only Texas starter to struggle lately. The Rangers extended their club record to seven straight games when their starter didn’t pitch at least five innings.
“Cole’s a great pitcher. There are stretches in any one season that for any starter, they go through things like this. Cole’s going to be able to work through it,” manager Jeff Banister said. “He’ll find the rhythm, find the release point, and he’ll be back to the Cole Hamels that we know that he is.”
Texas twice blew two-run leads before finally going ahead for good in the sixth. Nomar Mazara had a leadoff double against reliever Ryan Pressly (2-5) before Andrus tripled and scored the go-ahead run on Bobby Wilson’s sacrifice fly.
Tony Barnette (6-3) threw 2 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of Hamels. Sam Dyson worked a perfect ninth for his 18th save in 20 chances.
Odor had an RBI triple in the first inning before Prince Fielder’s single made it 2-0. Odor, who leads the Rangers with 16 homers, had three hits and was only a long ball short of the cycle.
Miguel Sano hit a three-run homer, his 14th, to put the Twins up 5-4 in the fifth. Hamels faced only three more batters after that, walking the last two.
“We made Hamels work. I don’t think he’ll say he was as sharp as he’s been the last couple starts, but you get a guy up that high in pitch count through five, you did a nice job,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said.
The Twins have the AL’s worst record at 30-56. The Rangers are the AL’s top team at 54-34 even after winning for only the third time in a 10-game stretch that included three straight losses to Minnesota.
Minnesota got even at 2-all in the second when All-Star third baseman Eduardo Nunez was credited with an RBI infield single. Hamels came off the mound to field the high chopper, but when he turned to throw to first nobody was there after novice first baseman Jurickson Profar had also gone after the ball.
Shin-Soo Choo and Desmond had consecutive two-out RBI singles in the fourth to make it 4-2.
Twins starter Kyle Gibson struck out six but allowed four runs in five innings, his shortest outing in his last six starts. … Hamels had six walks for the third time in his career. The last had been in April 2013. … Texas optioned Chi Chi Gonzalez to Triple-A Round Rock a day after he threw 124 pitches in 4 2-3 innings against the Twins. Left-hander Alex Claudio was recalled from that Triple-A team.
Twins: CF Byron Buxton left the game with a bruised right knee after crashing into the outfield wall in the first inning when going after Odor’s triple. Buxton was taken off the field on a motorized cart. The Twins said he’s day-to-day. … SS Eduardo Escobar hasn’t started since last Saturday because of a sore left hamstring. Manager Paul Molitor wants to get him in a game this weekend before the All-Star break.
Rangers: RHP Yu Darvish (right shoulder) will make his next rehab start Sunday night for Double-A Frisco. … RHP Keone Kela (right elbow) is scheduled to pitch in consecutive games for Frisco on Sunday and Monday. He hopes to rejoin the Rangers after the All-Star break.
Twins: RHP Ricky Nolasco (3-7) makes his team-leading 18th start.
Rangers: Kyle Lohse, a 37-year-old right-hander who signed a minor league deal with the Rangers on May 14, will be called up from Triple-A Round Rock to start. The Rangers announced after Friday night’s game that Nick Martinez (1-2) had been optioned to Double-A Frisco and will start for the RoughRiders instead Saturday night.
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