ARLINGTON -- Rougned Odor hit a two-run home run in the second inning and the Rangers, behind the pitching of Cole Hamels and three relievers, were able to make the early lead stand up in a 2-1 victory over the Astros on Wednesday night.
Hamels has now won 10 straight decisions, the longest winning streak of his career and third longest in Rangers history. Bobby Witt holds the record, with a 12-game winning streak in 1990, and Ferguson Jenkins won 11 in a row in 1978-79.
"It's big to have it for the team," Hamels said after the Rangers won their third straight. "If it shows up on my record, fine, but we have had some really good wins lately, and that's something to build on. Ultimately, I'm winning games for the team."
Hamels went 6 2/3 innings, allowing five hits and three walks, and striking out seven. Sam Dyson, Jake Diekman and Shawn Tolleson finished the job as Rangers pitchers held the Astros to 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
The Astros' only run came on a home run by Tyler White off Hamels; they have now lost six of their last eight. They have also lost 10 of their last 12 to the Rangers going back to last season. Doug Fister took the loss despite allowing just two runs in six innings.
"Two things that have plagued us in the first two weeks [are] walks and homers, and that came back to back for the two-run homer by Odor," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "Very symbolic for how things have gone the first two weeks. I am happy [Fister] lasted as long as he did. He competed and got ground-ball outs and mixed and matched his stuff. It was a step in the right direction."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Rangers turn unusual DPs: Hamels got out of two jams without allowing runs because of double plays. With two on and one out, the first inning ended with Hamels striking out White and George Springer getting thrown out at second on the back end of a double steal. The Astros had the bases loaded with no outs in the second when Marwin Gonzalez flied out to shallow right. Colby Rasmus didn't try to score from third, but Carlos Gomez was caught off first base after the throw went to the plate. Catcher Bryan Holaday and second baseman Odor worked the rundown perfectly, Rasmus ended up being tagged out at third, and the Astros' rally was over.
"The defense did a great job of getting me out of some jams that I put myself in," Hamels said. More >
Astros run into outs: The Astros had runners thrown out on the bases in each of the first three innings, squashing a pair of early rallies. Baserunning has been an issue for much of the season, and no mistakes was more glaring than in the second inning, when Gomez got caught between first and second, leading to the second out of a double play with the bases loaded and no outs. Even when they did have runners on base, they couldn't get them in, going 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
"We talked about it before the game, where you've got to get to [Hamels] early if you get a chance to get him," Hinch said. "We had a ton of runners and did a really good job of creating havoc for him. We just didn't do anything with it." More >
Dyson saves Hamels: The Rangers, leading 2-1, stuck with Hamels into the seventh, but he walked Gomez to lead off the inning. Gonzalez's slow grounder moved Gomez to second, and Gomez then stole third. Hamels struck out Jason Castro but hit Jose Altuve with a pitch. Dyson took over for Hamels and, after Altuve stole second, Dyson got Springer on a grounder back to the mound to end the inning. Diekman also struck out two with the tying run on second base in the eighth inning.
"We have really become comfortable with those two guys out there," Texas manager Jeff Banister said.
Dropped pop doesn't cost Astros: The Astros trailed by one going into the bottom of the eighth, when Prince Fielder led off with a high pop that White dropped at first base for an error. The Rangers loaded the bases on a double by Adrian Beltre and a walk to Mitch Moreland. But reliever Ken Giles retired Ian Desmond and Odor on shallow fly balls and struck out Elvis Andrus to end the inning.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Hamels set a career high by hitting three batters, Altuve twice. He hit the first two batters he faced in the top of the first and the last batter he faced in the seventh. He hit two batters in a game six times in his career, the last time on Sept. 14, 2015, also against the Astros. This is the first time Altuve has been hit twice in one game.
Astros: Left-hander Dallas Keuchel takes on the Rangers at 7:05 p.m. CT on Thursday at Globe Life Park. Keuchel is 1-2 with a 6.35 ERA in six starts against the Rangers in Arlington.
Rangers: Right-hander A.J. Griffin pitches against the Astros at 7:05 p.m CT on Thursday at Globe Life Park. Griffin is 3-0 with a 4.88 ERA in four career starts against the Astros.
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