By Hal McCoy
When Cole Hamels is scheduled to pitch, the Cincinnati Reds would do themselves a favor by staying home and sending cardboad cutouts of themselves to bat.
They are virtual hopeless against the Texas Rangers’ left hander.
After a 5-4 victory in Globe Life Park Wednesday night Hamels is now 10-and-1 with a 1.85 earned run average for his carrer against the Reds.
And on Wednesday night he held the Reds to one run and five hits over six innings and left with a 4-1 lead.
The Reds, though, made a comeback against the Texas bullpen, but it was, as so often this year, it was the Reds bullpen that couldn’t do what was necessary.
It was J.J. Hoover and Tony Cingrani who couldn’t get the job done.
It is an unbelievable statistic, almost unfathomable. Both Hoover and Cingrani gave up home runs to the first batter they faced. That has now happened 16 times this year — a Cincinnati relief pitcher giving up a home run to the first batter he faces.
Reds starter Dan Straily pitched five good innings. Unfortunately he pitched six. After Straily faced the minimum nine batters in the first three innings, he gave up four in the fourth inning.
And his downfall was two walks, the only two he gave up, and a hit batsman. He did that facing the first three batters of the fourth.
With the bases loaded and no outs, Adrian Beltre hit the first pitch he saw for a run-scoring single and the next batter, Prince Fielder, hit the first pitch he saw for a two-run single. The fourth run scored on a throwing error by first baseman Ivan DeJesus Jr., filling in for flu-stricken Joey Votto.
Hoover replaced Straily in the seventh and gave up a leadoff home run to Ian Desmond to make it 5-1.
The Reds reached relief pitcher Jake Diekman for three runs in the eighth on a double by Jay Bruce, his second of the game, a walk to Adam Duvall and a three-run home run by Eugenio Suarez inside the left field foul pole and the Reds were within 5-4.
Cingrani replaced Hoover for the eighth and the first batter he faced, former Reds outfielder Shin-Soo Choo hit a home run to make it 6-4.
Those two home runs made the difference and 6-4 is the way it finished. The Rangers had only five hits, but walks and a hit batsman and two home runs did in the Reds.
The Reds stranded a runner in eight of the nine innings and were 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position.
They had Zack Cozart on second base with two outs in the ninth but Brandon Phillips, the potential tying run, flied weakly to center field.
The Reds split two games in Texas and return home after a 4-5 trip for a seven-game homestand. It begins Thursday nighrt against San Diego, then Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Pete Rose weekend when he will be inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame and will have his No. 14 retired.