Hamels laments his mistakes in Texas' win
ARLINGTON -- In a clash of premier left-handers, the Rangers' Cole Hamels fought the Astros' Scott Kazmir to a draw for seven innings.
That was good enough for the Rangers, who were able to prevail with a 5-3 victory when Prince Fielder hit a two-run home run off Astros reliever Will Harris in the eighth inning.
Hamels, like Kazmir, allowed three runs in seven innings, and he is now 3-0 with a 3.43 ERA in his last six outings. The Rangers have won all six.
But a few items irked Hamels when it was all over and the Rangers were done celebrating.
First of all, he didn't like giving up a home run to Jose Altuve in the first inning and putting his team down, 1-0, just two batters into the game.
"I felt good today going into the game," Hamels said. "I thought I had prepared well. But you have to make pitches at the right time, and giving up a home run to Altuve is not how you want to start the game."
Then there was the balk on an attempted appeal play in the fifth inning. Jake Marisnick doubled with one out and stumbled going around first base, touching the bag with his hand instead of his feet.
The Rangers wanted Hamels to appeal in case Marisnick missed the bag. The proper procedure is to wait for a timeout, step off the pitching rubber and throw to first base. Hamels knows the rule but forgot to step off the rubber, and that's why the balk was called.
"That was completely my fault," he said. "I messed up. I didn't settle my thoughts. As I threw it over there, I knew I did it completely wrong. This is the kind of atmosphere you want to play in, and you can't make that kind of mental mistake."
Then there was the seventh inning. Mitch Moreland hit a two-run home run to give the Rangers a one-run lead in the sixth, but Hamels couldn't deliver the shutdown inning.
Altuve hit a one-out single, and Hamels walked Jonathan Villar with two outs on a full-count pitch. Colby Rasmus then hit a hard ground ball off Moreland's chest at first, and the ball caromed into right field for a run-scoring single.
"I've got to be able to bear down and keep that run from scoring and keep the momentum on our side," Hamels said. "Unfortunately, I didn't do that. But we came up with some big hits."
Rasmus' single was the Astros' only hit in nine at-bats with runners in scoring position, and Hamels got out of the inning with the score tied by getting Evan Gattis on a fly to center.
There were things Hamels did well, and battling Kazmir to a stalemate for seven innings ended up being good enough.