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