Cole Hamels' step back in his latest start pushed back his chance at a Texas Rangers record. Taking a step closer to it in his next would snap his team's lengthy drought against the Oakland Athletics.
Still looking to tie the club mark with a 12th consecutive winning decision, Hamels tries to help the visiting Rangers snap a five-game skid against the Athletics on Tuesday night.
Texas' run of 14 straight wins with Hamels (4-0, 2.95 ERA) on the mound ended May 1 when he surrendered four runs in five innings of a 9-6 loss to the Los Angeles Angels. Five days later, the left-hander looked dominant in seven one-hit innings of a 5-1 win at Detroit, but he regressed by coughing up five runs – three earned – in 5 2/3 innings of Wednesday's 6-5 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
Hamels struck out nine without a walk against the White Sox, but he also surrendered nine hits, the most in his 19 starts for the Rangers since coming over last summer.
Still, he was more enthused by his team's rally with two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to pull out the victory.
“It's great to see these guys never quit,” Hamels told MLB's official website. “Every day we come in, we are here to win and we play to win. It's nine innings and 27 outs. If we don't get a lead early, we fight to the end.”
The no-decision kept the southpaw's lengthy unbeaten streak alive. Hamels is 11-0 with a 3.12 ERA in 17 starts since his last losing decision Aug. 7 at Seattle. Bobby Witt went a franchise-best 12-0 over 14 starts in 1990.
Hamels is 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA in two career starts against Oakland, one in 2011 and the other last season. Chris Coghlan has faced him the most, going 9 for 29 with two home runs a triple and two doubles.
Oakland grabbed its fifth straight win in this series with a 3-1 victory in Monday's opener. Sean Manaea, Sean Doolittle, John Axford and Ryan Madson held the Rangers to three singles and a double, and Marcus Semien hit his 10th home run.
Hits might be easier to come by for Texas against Eric Surkamp.
Surkamp (0-3, 6.55) made it through the fifth inning once in four April starts before being sent to Triple-A Nashville. He returned to face Boston on Wednesday but lasted just 2 2/3 innings while allowing four runs on four hits, including a home run.
The left-hander faced the Rangers once in relief while with the White Sox in 2014, allowing one run off two hits and a walk in one inning of a 16-0 loss.
Manaea's quality start on Monday ended a brutal stretch for Oakland starters. The previous eight had coughed up 39 earned runs in 34 1/3 innings.
Manaea picked up his first win in his fourth career start after entering with an 11.37 ERA. He trimmed down his long, curly hair prior to the start.
''First three starts didn't go as well as I wanted to, and as a team we were kind of struggling,'' Manaea said. ''I just felt like it was time for a change.''