Hamels threw the 16th complete game of his career -- his first in nearly two years -- and turned in his most efficient start of the season to lead the Texas Rangers past the Minnesota Twins 4-1 on Saturday night.
With Hamels dominating on the mound, Nomar Mazara's first-inning, two-run homer off Kyle Gibson (6-9) was all the offense Texas needed to beat the Twins.
In his first complete game since Oct. 4, 2015, Hamels (6-1) scattered four hits and allowed only four batters to reach base. The Twins' only run against him was unearned.
Hamels entered the game with a 6.35 career ERA against Minnesota, the highest of any opponent with at least six starts, but breezed through the lineup using 96 pitches to pick up his third career win against the Twins.
With Elvis Andrus on base, the Rangers grabbed the lead for good only three batters in when Mazara sent the first pitch he saw from Gibson an estimated 407 feet into the bullpen. Mike Napoli came around to score after a leadoff walk in the second, and Robinson Chirinos added an RBI single in the ninth.
Making his first major league start since being sent to the minors in late July, Gibson was otherwise solid for the Twins, allowing seven hits and two walks while striking out four over 5 1/3 innings.
Minnesota's run came in the fifth after Byron Buxton singled, stole second and advanced to third on a bad throw from Chirinos at the plate. He scored on Ehire Adiranza's groundout.
Brian Dozier reached base twice against Hamels on a single and walk. Eduardo Escobar singled in the fourth but was thrown out trying to reach second. Jorge Polanco had a leadoff double in the ninth.
Rangers: LHP Jake Diekman threw about 30 pitches in his second simulated game of the week on Saturday, taking another step in a slow recovery from colon surgery. Pitching coach Doug Brocail said he originally wanted Diekman to throw about 20-25 pitches, and wanted to tire him out to see how he'd respond on Sunday.
Twins: 1B Miguel Sano remains day to day after taking a pitch off his left hand Friday night. Although X-rays were negative, the Twins slugger said it wasn't feeling any better from the previous night. "When I woke up this morning, I couldn't even make a fist," Sano said through a translator. . Manager Paul Molitor said LHP Hector Santiago (back) will make another rehab start at Triple-A Rochester next week, saying his velocity isn't consistent enough yet. "The last thing we want is to come up here and go backwards in some fashion," Molitor said. . Molitor said closer Glen Perkins (shoulder) will likely throw a bullpen session in the coming days before beginning a rehab assignment at Double-A Chattanooga.
Rangers: RHP Nick Martinez (3-4) makes his second start since being recalled from Triple-A Rock Round on Monday. He's 0-1 with a 6.06 ERA in three career starts against Minnesota.
Twins: RHP Jose Berrios (9-5) faces Texas for the first time in his career. He lost his last start on Aug. 1 at San Diego despite only allowing one run and two hits in seven innings.