Cole Hamels won again for the Texas Rangers on the same day they wrapped up a stretch of 20 games in 20 days and found out two of their other starting pitchers are going on the disabled list.
Hamels won his third consecutive start with eight strikeouts in six solid innings, the Rangers took full advantage when Cincinnati starter Dan Straily lost control for a short stretch and Ian Desmond later homered in his only at-bat after a break from the starting lineup Wednesday night. The Rangers won 6-4 for a split in the two-game interleague series.
"It was obviously nice for Cole to give us the start that he did. ... News like that is never what you want to hear obviously, but we've still got to go and play," manager Jeff Banister said. "I think that they look at it as go out and play, play hard, play to win, do what they can do."
The Rangers went 16-4 in the nearly three weeks since their last day off, and rebounded from an 8-2 loss to Cincinnati on Tuesday that ended their season-best seven-game winning streak. They have the American League's best record at 47-26 and a 10-game lead over Houston in the AL West.
Earlier Wednesday Texas put Derek Holland on the 15-day disabled list with left shoulder inflammation. Then minutes before the finale against the Reds, general manager Jon Daniels said Colby Lewis has a strained lat muscle and will be going on the DL as well since the 36-year-old right-hander will not be able to throw for at least four weeks.
The Rangers went ahead to stay with four runs in the fourth off Straily (4-4). The Rangers had the bases loaded without a hit before Adrian Beltre had an RBI single and Prince Fielder immediately followed with a hard liner to right.
Hamels (8-1) scattered five hits, walked two and allowed only one run while improving to 3-0 with a 1.82 ERA in five June starts since his only loss on May 27. The left-hander is 10-1 with a 1.93 ERA in 15 career starts vs. the Reds.
"We're playing as a team. No one in this clubhouse is trying to do more than what they're capable of doing. Nobody is trying to be selfish," Hamels said. "Everybody is a team player. It's probably the most positive vibe I could experience going on day in and day out."
Desmond went to center field to start the seventh, and led off the bottom of the inning with his 12th homer — the second one this week halfway up the hill in straightaway center field — for a 5-1 lead.
Shin-Soo Choo led off the eighth with his second homer. That came after Eugenio Suarez hit a three-run homer in the top of that inning for the Reds, his 14th of the season coming off reliever Jake Diekman.
Straily faced the minimum nine hitters his first three innings, and also retired the last nine batters he faced. But the first five Rangers reached to start the fourth inning, including two walks and a hit batsman to load the bases with no outs before the consecutive singles by the sluggers in the middle of their lineup.
"It was poor command for three hitters in a row. I was trying to figure out. It's just really, really frustrating," Straily said. "That momentary lapse just lost it for me."
Closing it Out: Sam Dyson worked the ninth for his 15th save in 16 chances. He has converted 13 straight since being named the Rangers closer May 18, the most in the majors during that stretch.
Short Hops: Beltre got his 1,510th career RBI, breaking a tie with Mickey Mantle for 53rd on MLB's all-time list. ... The 47-26 record is the Rangers' best ever through 73 games. ... The Reds and Rangers all-time series is tied 7-7. They play two more games, Aug. 23-24 in Cincinnati.
Trainer's Room: RHP Yu Darvish, on the DL with right shoulder discomfort, threw off flat ground and had no issues.
Up Next: Texas has a day off before opening a three-game series at home against the Boston Red Sox on Friday night.