Rangers' big bats, Hamels lead way past Tribe

Rangers' big bats, Hamels lead way past Tribe

ARLINGTON -- Cole Hamels has put himself into the thick of the American League Cy Young Award discussion with a stellar second half. That continued on Thursday night, when the Rangers' ace overpowered the Indians, and the offense was equally as potent, in a 9-0 victory in the opener of the four-game set between division leaders.

Over eight innings, Hamels baffled the AL Central-leading Tribe, which managed just a pair of singles and struck out eight times against the lefty. Backing Hamels' strong outing were a pair of three-run home runs -- one apiece for Carlos Gomez and Adrian Beltre off Indians starter Josh Tomlin. Gomez's shot in the second came in his first at-bat with Texas, which signed him on Saturday.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.

Ryan Posner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Texas.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gomez homers in first AB with Rangers

Gomez homers in first AB with Rangers

ARLINGTON -- Newly signed outfielder Carlos Gomez had hit 108 home runs entering his Rangers debut on Thursday night against the Indians. But for the first time in his 10-year career, he was nearly brought to tears after he sent a three-run shot into the left-field seats in his first at-bat with his new team.

"It was so emotional that [crying] is what I felt like," said Gomez, whose homer helped lead the Rangers to a 9-0 victory that featured a playful interaction between fellow second basemen Rougned Odor and Jason Kipnis. "I feel so blessed, to come from having no job to coming here. To be in first place and to start like this right away is a gift from God."

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Ryan Posner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Texas. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hamels lives in strike zone in win vs. Indians

Hamels lives in strike zone in win vs. Indians

ARLINGTON -- Rangers left-hander Cole Hamels said he felt embarrassed that he's on pace to walk more batters this season than any other in his 11-year career. There was nothing embarrassing about his outing against the Indians on Thursday, though, as he threw eight scoreless innings on two hits and struck out eight while walking none in the Rangers' 9-0 victory.

It was the fourth start of Hamels' career in which he threw at least eight innings and gave up two hits or fewer, and the first since he threw a no-hitter with the Phillies on July 25 last season. He had retired 19 straight batters at one point in the outing.

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Ryan Posner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Texas. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kipnis pranks Odor by carefully backing away

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Kipnis pranks Odor by carefully backing away

It's not often that a team that just hit into a double play ends up laughing, but Jason Kipnis managed to do it. After a bang-bang play at second base in the bottom of the fifth inning of the Rangers' 9-0 victory over the Indians on Thursday night that got Rougned Odor out, Kipnis quickly backed up in a defensive stance. After all, he knew what he might be coming next. Wink wink

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Perez to take on Kluber in matchup of division leaders

Perez to take on Kluber in matchup of division leaders

The Indians will send out an American League Cy Young Award candidate of their own in right-hander Corey Kluber for the second game of their series against the Rangers on Friday night at Globe Life Park -- a night after Rangers ace Cole Hamels took the mound.

Kluber has been instrumental in the Indians' stronghold of first place in the AL Central. He's 6-4 with a 3.31 ERA in 13 road starts this season. He was knocked around a bit by the Rangers in his previous start against them this year, allowing six runs on eight hits in seven innings in a losing effort on May 31.

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Ryan Posner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Texas. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lucroy faces Indians for 1st time since vetoing deal

Lucroy faces Indians for 1st time since vetoing deal

ARLINGTON -- Jonathan Lucroy has flourished in his short time with the Rangers, hitting seven homers with 14 RBIs through 20 games. The veteran catcher faced what could've been a different reality, though, when the Rangers opened up a four-game series over the Indians with a 9-0 win on Thursday.

It was the first time Lucroy faced the Indians since vetoing a trade on the eve of the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline that would've sent him to Cleveland. Lucroy got the Rangers' first hit of the game with a single in the second inning and came around to score on a three-run homer from Carlos Gomez. He also added a walk in the eighth in a 1-for-3 effort.

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Ryan Posner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Texas. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lewis targeting Sept. 3 for Rangers return

Lewis targeting Sept. 3 for Rangers return

ARLINGTON -- Right-hander Colby Lewis, on the 60-day disabled list with a right lat strain, expects his second rehab start to come on Monday. He's still deciding whether he will make it with Double-A Frisco or Triple-A Round Rock, who are both on the road that day.

Lewis felt comfortable after throwing 44 pitches in his first rehab start with Frisco on Wednesday. He was happy with his use of his fastball and slider through his 2 2/3 innings of work.

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Ryan Posner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Texas. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

After 3 Rangers HRs, Beltre's milestone beats Reds

After 3 Rangers HRs, Beltre's milestone beats Reds

CINCINNATI -- Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre's 2,900th Major League hit was a game-winner on a night Yu Darvish's first career homer stole the show.

Beltre's two-out double in the eighth inning Wednesday drove home Ian Desmond with the go-ahead run, and the Rangers held on for a 6-5 victory over the Reds at Great American Park.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Cody Pace is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cincinnati.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Yu did what? Darvish hits first career homer

Yu did what? Darvish hits first career homer

CINCINNATI -- Yu Darvish came back from Tommy John surgery feeling bigger and stronger this season. He really started noticing it the last week when he was taking batting practice in preparation for hitting against the Reds in Interleague Play.

"I was thinking, 'Am I getting bigger and stronger?'" Darvish said. "'Maybe I could hit one or two.' I got one."

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rangers snap skid, but look to clean things up

Club had some sloppy play vs. last-place teams; homestand vs. contenders awaits

Rangers snap skid, but look to clean things up

CINCINNATI -- The Rangers are done playing last-place teams. Now they are going home for what may be the biggest homestand of the season.

That makes it even more important that the Rangers aren't going home on a losing streak, and they avoided that by holding on to a 6-5 victory over the Reds at Great American Ballpark on Wednesday night.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rangers get 3 international signing slots in trade

Veteran outfielder provides right-handed bat with Stanton on DL; Minors C Foley sent to Braves

Rangers get 3 international signing slots in trade

MIAMI -- The Marlins didn't necessarily find a replacement for Giancarlo Stanton, but the club on Wednesday night acquired a veteran who presents a right-handed-hitting threat in Jeff Francoeur from the Braves as part of a three-team trade that also included the Rangers.

Miami announced the deal shortly after a 3-0 win over Kansas City at Marlins Park. The Rangers sent Minor League shortstop Dylan Moore to the Braves, while Texas also received three international signing slots, one from Atlanta and two from Miami.

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Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Scheppers could be one of Texas' September callups

Scheppers could be one of Texas' September callups

CINCINNATI -- Rangers right-handed reliever Tanner Scheppers is rising again and putting himself in position to be a September callup.

Scheppers, who has been on the disabled list the entire season while recovering from left knee surgery, threw a scoreless inning for Triple-A Round Rock on Tuesday night. It was his third rehab outing, and he allowed one hit while striking out two. He threw 20 pitches and the report was good.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Holland's 'tremendous' return goes unrewarded

Lefty allows 1 run over 6 innings, collects 1st MLB hit in loss to Reds

Holland's 'tremendous' return goes unrewarded

CINCINNATI -- Just about everything turned out great for Rangers pitcher Derek Holland on Tuesday night at Great American Ball Park. He was pitching in front of family and friends in his native state, he was quite effective in his first outing in two months and he had his first Major League hit.

All that was missing was a victory. That didn't happen as the Rangers went down for the third straight game in a 3-0 loss to the Reds.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rangers put Hamilton on unconditional release waivers

Rangers put Hamilton on unconditional release waivers

CINCINNATI -- The Rangers still have interest in outfielder Josh Hamilton coming to Spring Training on a Minor League contract, which is why they placed him on unconditional release waivers Tuesday.

Major League rules dictated the move be made before the end of August. Players released after Aug. 31 can re-sign with their former team, but can't play for them in the Major Leagues until May 15 of the following season.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Holland's solid outing not enough to beat Reds

Holland's solid outing not enough to beat Reds

CINCINNATI -- Reds right-hander Dan Straily is on a roll, and it didn't stop against the first-place Rangers on Tuesday night.

Straily, in a tight pitching matchup with left-hander Derek Holland, pitched six dominant innings, and the Reds held on for a 3-0 victory at Great American Ball Park. The Rangers have lost three straight, but remain 5 1/2 games up on the Mariners, who lost to the Yankees, 5-1, in the American League West with 36 to play.

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Cody Pace is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cincinnati.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Jeffress makes strides while taking on epilepsy

Longtime condition gives Rangers reliever unique perspective on game, life

Jeffress makes strides while taking on epilepsy

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rangers reliever Jeremy Jeffress believes his long and harrowing battle with seizures and juvenile epilepsy began at 15 with a freak accident on a basketball court.

"Me and my buddy were out there," Jeffress said. "I was trying to do some dunks and stuff. This kid literally came out of nowhere. I literally did not see this kid and I went up for a dunk and there was his basketball, right under my landing. I slipped on it and hit my head hard. My body froze. I got up, my head was dizzy and I just walked home. Didn't think anything else of it.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Texas options Martinez, clears way for Holland

Texas options Martinez, clears way for Holland

The Rangers optioned right-hander Nick Martinez to Triple-A Round Rock on Monday to open a spot for left-hander Derek Holland, who will be activated Tuesday off the 60-day disabled list.

Holland, who is scheduled to start Tuesday against the Reds, will be making his first Major League start since June 20 after dealing with left shoulder inflammation. He posted a 4.50 ERA in three rehab starts with Round Rock.

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Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rangers agree to buy new affiliate in N.C.

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have agreed to purchase a Class A Advanced franchise in the Carolina League that will play in Kinston, N.C., beginning next season.

The Rangers' franchise will join another new one in the Carolina League in 2017, as Kinston will host Minor League baseball for the first time since 2011. For the past two seasons, the Rangers' Class A Advanced team has been High Desert in the California League.

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Ryan Posner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Texas. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rangers hit pair of homers, can't rally in finale

Rangers hit pair of homers, can't rally in finale

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rangers have the best record in the American League, but it's not because they are beating up on weak teams.

Those are the teams that give Texas the most problems, and that continued on Sunday afternoon with an 8-4 loss to the Rays at Tropicana Field. Designated hitter Logan Forsythe delivered the big blow for Tampa Bay with a three-run home run off of Martin Perez in a five-run fourth inning. Steven Souza Jr. added a two-run homer in the eighth.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Sam Blum is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Hal Bodley

Additions solidify Rangers' claim atop AL

Only concern is rotation, in which Texas has Cy Young Award candidate

Additions solidify Rangers' claim atop AL

ST. PETERSBURG -- Prior to the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline, the Texas Rangers were a good team. Since then, they've become arguably the best team in the American League.

Even after losing two games to the last-place Rays over the weekend, the Rangers still have the AL's best record, and they are in the driver's seat to repeat as AL West champions.

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Hal Bodley, dean of American baseball writers, is the senior correspondent for MLB.com. Follow him @halbodley on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Road-weary Perez missing Globe Life Park

Eight of left-hander's nine losses have come away from Texas

Road-weary Perez missing Globe Life Park

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rangers starter Martin Perez is a really good pitcher at Globe Life Park. His 2.36 home ERA is the lowest in the American League.

The problem is Texas has to play half its games on the road, and that's a real problem for Perez. His troubles away from Arlington continued on Sunday afternoon in an 8-4 loss to the Rays at Tropicana Field.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Banister: Gomez not here to be a backup

Two-time NL All-Star will get at-bats at Triple-A before taking over in left field

Banister: Gomez not here to be a backup

ST. PETERSBURG -- Manager Jeff Banister corrected the initial perception of why the Rangers signed Carlos Gomez. He is not coming to provide outfield depth.

Gomez is coming to be the everyday left fielder.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rangers' 4-game winning streak snapped by Rays

Rangers' 4-game winning streak snapped by Rays

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays starter Jake Odorizzi showed why the Rangers were interested in trading for him last month.

Odorizzi won his fifth straight decision since the All-Star break by holding the Rangers to one run in six innings in the Rays' 8-2 victory at Tropicana Field on Saturday night. Odorizzi allowed six hits, walked a batter and struck out four. He is now 5-0 with a 1.64 ERA in seven starts since the break. He is 3-0 with a 1.40 ERA in four career starts against the Rangers.

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Sam Blum is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rangers sign veteran outfielder Gomez

Former All-Star inks Minor League contract

Rangers sign veteran outfielder Gomez

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rangers, looking for outfield depth with the loss of Shin-Soo Choo for the season, signed outfielder Carlos Gomez to a Minor League contract on Saturday.

Gomez is expected to join Triple-A Round Rock on Sunday, play in a few games and then be called up to the big leagues. He was released by the Astros earlier this week.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

6th-inning play turning point in Rangers-Rays

Beltre originally ruled safe at home, but call is overturned after Tampa Bay challenges

6th-inning play turning point in Rangers-Rays

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays ended up winning by six runs, but there's little doubt what was the pivotal moment in their 8-2 victory over the Rangers on Saturday night.

The Rays were holding a 2-1 lead when a tremendous relay effort, a close play at the plate and an overturned call proved huge in allowing them to prevail over the Rangers at Tropicana Field.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hamels takes no-no into sixth, fans 10 in win

Rangers' ace flirting with record for lowest road ERA

Hamels takes no-no into sixth, fans 10 in win

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rangers pitcher Cole Hamels knew he had a no-hitter going into the sixth inning during a 6-2 victory over the Rays on Friday night.

So did his teammates.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Beltre's blasts back Hamels' heat in victory

Beltre's blasts back Hamels' heat in victory

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rangers left-hander Cole Hamels had a no-hitter for 5 2/3 innings but had to settle for a 6-2 victory over the Rays on Friday night at Tropicana Field. Adrian Beltre hit two home runs for the 30th time in his career, and the Rangers have now won four straight.

Hamels was trying for the first Rangers no-hitter since 1994 and the second of his career. Instead, he allowed one run on three hits over 7 1/3 innings while walking two and striking out 10. It's the third time this season Hamels has struck out 10-plus batters in a game.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Sam Blum is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Andrus manages to score from first ... on a single

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Andrus manages to score from first ... on a single

Generally speaking, with a runner on first, there are only so many ways to score on a given play: a dinger, of course, or a ball in the gap, or activating the cheat code known as "being Lorenzo Cain." Ninety-nine times out of 100, though, a chopper back up the middle isn't going to get the job done. 

We say "99 times out of 100" because we're lucky enough to live in a world in which Elvis Andrus exists -- and after Ian Desmond bounced a single to center during the Rangers-Rays game on Friday, he just kept [extreme Forrest Gump voice] running and running and running and running.

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