Hunter became the first Ranger to pitch only as a starter and begin a season with seven wins and no losses, and Josh Hamilton hit another homer to help surging Texas beat the slumping Detroit Tigers 8-0 on Tuesday night.
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"That's a great accomplishment because you obviously want to win every game, but a lot of it has to do with the guys behind me," he said. "You saw the plays they made, and they've done that every time I've been on the mound."They are the reason I'm 7-0, plus Josh keeps hitting homers every time I start."Hamilton hit his 23rd homer, Ian Kinsler cleared the fence for the second straight day -- after doing it just four times this season -- and David Murphy had a solo shot.The AL West-leading Rangers are 5-1 since the All-Star break and are the only team in the majors with 50 wins since April 22."This is a good team," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "That's why they're leading the division."Since the Tigers' last day atop the AL Central, they have lost a season-high seven straight and have followed a trend during the Leyland era.Detroit has had at least a .500 record before the break in each of Leyland's five seasons and hasn't had a winning record once after it."It's probably different [reasons] every year," Leyland said. "Two of those years, it wasn't what we wanted, but we still went to the World Series and played the 163rd game for the [AL Central] championship."All-Star Miguel Cabrera is taking some of the blame for the latest slump after the break."Starting the second half in Cleveland, I didn't do my job," said Cabrera, who was 2 for 14 with two RBIs as the last-place Indians swept Detroit. "What I and we need to do is look in the mirror, turn it around, play more relaxed and make something happen."The Rangers had plenty of players doing their jobs in the second of a three-game series.Elvis Andrus hit Armando Galarraga's first pitch for a single, scored on Kinsler's triple and Hamilton followed with a sacrifice fly. Murphy's solo homer in the second put Texas up 3-0.Nelson Cruz's RBI single in the sixth brought Hamilton home, providing the Rangers with more than enough offense.But the Rangers stayed aggressive and turned the game into a rout with a four-run ninth against relievers Brad Thomas and Casey Fien, who was recalled earlier in the day from Triple-A Toledo to take Brandon Inge's spot on the roster.Andrus' suicide squeeze gave Texas a five-run cushion in the final inning, Kinsler's two-run homer and Hamilton's solo shot made it 8-0.Detroit didn't have a hit off Hunter until Austin Jackson led off the fourth with a single."We couldn't get anything going," Jackson said.The Tigers looked like they might score in the seventh, but Andrus dove to stop a sharply hit grounder between third and second and made a throw from his right knee to stunt the potential rally.Galarraga (3-3) gave up four runs and nine hits over 7 1/3 innings.Even though he has won only once since his near-perfect game June 2, Leyland didn't sound discouraged about him."Galarraga gave us a chance to win," he said.Hunter, meanwhile, made it tough for the Tigers to earn a much-needed victory.The right-hander gave up just three hits and walked two over seven innings."Tommy Hunter gave us just what we needed," manager Ron Washington said. "Our bullpen was beat up, and he got us deep into the game with another great outing."He pitched well, the guys behind him played great defense and we put some runs on the board. That's about as clean a game of baseball as you can play."
Texas' Dustin Nippert says he didn't sustain any significant injuries when he was hit by a batted ball during Monday night's game against Detroit and agreed with the team's decision to put him on the 15-day DL for precautionary reasons. ... The Rangers, who had lost 11 straight at Detroit before winning in 14 innings on Monday night, have won a series at Comerica Park for the first time since 2007 and go for a sweep on Wednesday. ... Detroit has lost seven in a row for the first time since the start of the 2008 season. ... The Tigers put Inge on the 15-day DL with a broken left hand and replaced him in the field with Don Kelly, who dove to stop two grounders and made throws on both plays to get outs.
27,576 (66.8% full) - % is based on regular season capacity
79 degrees, cloudy
Home Plate - Wally Bell, First Base - Jim Wolf, Second Base - Todd Tichenor, Third Base - John Hirschbeck
From Elias: Josh Hamilton had 3 more hits today, pushed his BA to .418 this month.
This follows a .454 June for Hamilton.
Should Hamilton maintain his .400+
Last player to hit .400+ in consecutive months was Chipper Jones in April/May of 2008. The last AL player was Ichiro Suzuki in July/August of 2004.
Tommy Hunter won, is now 7-0 this season. He became the first pitcher in Rangers history to start 7-0, exclusively as a starter.