Cole Hamels struck out 12 while allowing two runs over eight innings, leading the Rangers to a 3-2 win over the Royals on Thursday.
Hamels gave up six hits, including a solo homer, and walked one in the victory, throwing a season-high 123 pitches before exiting. It may not be any coincidence that his 12 punchouts were also a season high, giving him 132 strikeouts in 133 1/3 innings on the year. The southpaw improved to 12-2 with his third straight win, and he'll take a 2.84 ERA and 1.26 WHIP into Wednesday's start at the Orioles.
Mitch Moreland hit two solo home runs in Thursday's win over the Royals.
Moreland had Yordano Ventura's number this night, lifting a homer to left-center field in the fifth inning to tie the game before walloping a pitch to deep center in the eighth to give the Rangers the lead. The home runs were numbers 15 and 16 on the year for Moreland, who has started to come around a bit after a slow start to the year. The 30-year-old is batting .237/.303/.453 overall as a result of that poor start at the plate.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports the Marlins and Rangers are currently ahead in the race to acquire Andrew Cashner.
Both teams are looking to add a starter for the stretch run. Cashner is in the last year of his contract so he'd only be a rental. The Orioles have also shown interest though perhaps not as much as Texas or Miami. The Padres have turned this season into an all-out fire sale, unloading assets such as James Shields, Fernando Rodney, Drew Pomeranz and Melvin Upton. There's a good chance Cashner's start against Toronto on Tuesday was his last as a member of the Padres' organization.
Paulo Orlando hit his second home run of the year in Thursday's loss to the Rangers.
Orlando turned around a Cole Hamels fastball for a no-doubter in the top of the second inning, his ninth career homer and just his second this year. Orlando has made the most of newfound playing time this season, batting .324/.348/.419 in 75 games. The 30-year-old figures to stay in the lineup and could even see better opportunities -- he batted fifth in Thursday's game -- as the season rolls on.
Rougned Odor hit his 19th home run of the season in Thursday's win over the Royals.
Odor connected with a Yordano Ventura pitch in the second inning for one of three solo home runs hit by Rangers batters on the evening. He's already surpassed his single-season high for homers, besting the 16 he hit last year with two months still left to play. With 52 RBI, 62 runs scored and 10 steals to go with a .277/.297/.487 line, the 22-year-old could set a number of personal bests before the year is out.
Yordano Ventura allowed three runs in an eight-inning, complete-game loss to the Rangers on Thursday.
Ventura gave up a solitary walk and just four hits, but three of them -- two by Mitch Moreland and one by Rougned Odor -- left the yard. It was enough to saddle Ventura with the loss, dropping him to 6-9. He's now lost five straight decisions and owns a 4.88 ERA in 20 starts. Ventura will try to stop the bleeding Tuesday at the Rays.
Sam Dyson worked a scoreless ninth inning against the Royals on Thursday to earn his 21st save.
Dyson issued a free pass to Kendrys Morales to lead off the inning but it didn't come back to haunt him, as he recovered to get three straight groundouts to end the game. Dyson is now 21-for-23 in save opportunities this year. The right-hander has a 2.47 ERA and 1.16 WHIP through 47 1/3 innings of work overall.
Aroldis Chapman worked a perfect 1 1/3 innings Thursday, closing out the Cubs' 3-1 win over the White Sox.
The four-out save was also the first save in Chapman's Cubs career. The southpaw struck out two in the outing. He's now got 21 saves total, owning a 1.87 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 48/8 K/BB ratio over 33 2/3 innings. An elite closer on an elite team, Chapman could put up some gaudy numbers over the season's final two months.