HOUSTON - Cole Hamels allowed just one hit over six innings to narrowly outduel Justin Verlander, leading the Texas Rangers to a 1-0 win over the Houston Astros on Friday night.
Hamels (2-4) cruised through the first four innings without allowing a hit before Evan Gattis led off the fifth with a single that dribbled between third base and shortstop into left field.
Hamels allowed six baserunners - one hit, three walks and two hit batters - while striking out five. He entered the game having lost six of his previous seven decisions. Keone Kela earned his eighth save of the season, walking one in the ninth.
Astros outfielder George Springer left the game in the fourth inning after being hit by a 92 mph fastball from Hamels on his left elbow and was on the ground for nearly two minutes as Houston's medical staff attended to him. Springer finished the inning as a baserunner but was replaced in center field in the top of the fourth by Jake Marisnick. He is day to day with an elbow bruise.
The Rangers finally got to Verlander (4-2) in the seventh. Nomar Mazara hit a leadoff double and Adrian Beltre and Joey Gallo drew consecutive walks to load the bases. Astros manager A.J. Hinch brought in right-handed reliever Chris Devenski, who allowed Jurickson Profar's sacrifice fly that scored Mazara before striking out the next two batters to escape the inning without further damage.
In six innings, Verlander allowed three hits and one run while striking out seven. The Astros have mustered one run or less in three of Verlander's nine starts so far this season.
Marisnick led off the eighth with a walk and advanced to second on a deep pop out by Jose Altuve. A blooper from Carlos Correa to shallow right field was corralled with an over-the-shoulder catch by first baseman Ronald Guzman to end the inning.
Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor made his return from the 10-day disabled list and made his first start in more than a month. Odor was in the lineup for the first time since straining his left hamstring on April 9 and went going 0 for 3 with two strikeouts.
The defending champion Astros have lost four straight at Minute Maid Park for the first time since the 2016 season.
Rangers: C Robinson Chirinos said before Friday's game that he's still dealing with inflammation and soreness in his left wrist, but that is has improved in recent days. Chirinos was out of the lineup Tuesday and Wednesday and received an injection on Tuesday to help relieve the pain.
Rangers: Doug Fister (1-3, 4.02 ERA) is 0-1 with a 4.08 ERA since returning from the disabled list on April 25 with a right hip strain. Fister held Houston to four hits and one run in five innings of a 5-1 win in his Rangers debut on March 30.
Astros: Charlie Morton (4-0, 2.16 ERA) looks to improve to stay undefeated. In his first start against Texas this season, Morton allowed six hits and two runs in six innings but did not factor in the decision of Houston's 6-5 loss.
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