It wasn't pretty by any means, but Wednesday night's 2-1 victory over the Astros -- securing a series win -- might have been the Rangers best of the year to this point.
Cole Hamels put together another strong performance despite not having his usual command. He ended up throwing 106 pitches in 6.2 IP, allowing a run on 5 hits, with 3 walks and 3 hit batsman. He also punched out 7 Houston hitters, which helped.
The first two innings provided the bulk of the scare. In the top of the 1st, Hamels hit the first two hitters, Jose Altuve and George Springer, before retiring the next two via the strikeout -- the second coming of the double play variety, with catcher Brian Holaday throwing behind to catch Springer from stealing 2nd. The inning ended with no damage.
In the 2nd the Astros manufactured a bases loaded, nobody out scenario by going single, single, bunt single, and for the second inning in a row they had Hamels seemingly on the ropes. As the next batter, Marwin Gonzalez, hit a medium-deep popup to Nomar Mazara in right, Carlos Gomez inexplicably tried to tag from first, thinking Colby Rasmus would do more than just bluff from 3rd.
That brain fart would go on to cost his team, as the runners advancing to 2nd and 3rd forced Rasmus into getting tagged out. Cole Hamels went on to retire number nine hitter Jason Castro, and again he got through an inning unscathed.
All of the Rangers scoring on the night came in the bottom half of the 2nd, with Rougned Odor (.250/.288/.429, 98 wRC+) hitting a two-run HR into the upper deck in right, giving the Rangers a 2-0 lead.
The only other run scored on a solo HR from Houston's Tyler White. The Rangers bullpen pitched the final 2.1 innings without allowing a run.
The win is Texas's 3rd straight, 4th out of 5, and 6th out of 8. They lead the AL West by 1.0 game over the A's, and 4.0 over the Astros, the latter of which figuring to be the Rangers biggest competition in 2016.
Tomorrow A.J. Griffin goes for the sweep against Dallas Keuchel.