Hunter’s mark hits 7-0 as Rangers rout tigers

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS -

DETROIT — Tommy 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.

“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 hit 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 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.”

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 Ian Kinsler con­nects for a two-run home run to boost the Rangers’ lead to 7-0 in the top of the ninth in­ning. Josh Hamil­ton fol­lowed Kinsler’s blast with a solo shot to put the fin­ish­ing touch on the Rangers’ romp at Detroit. 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.

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.

Paul San­cya pho­tos

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