Cole Hamels Loses Deciding Game for Texas (But It Wasn’t His Fault)

Former Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels started for the Rangers in Game 5 on Wednesday. He was fine. His fielders were not.

cole hamels texas rangers

Cole Hamels was on the losing end of Wednesday’s ALDS playoff game. | Nick Turchiaro

It was one of the strangest seventh innings of a baseball game you’ll ever see. It ended with a former Phillies pitcher allowing the winning run.

When we last saw Cole Hamels in a Phillies uniform, he was throwing a no-hitter and improving his trade value. He ended up with the Texas Rangers, and pitched pretty well for them. The Rangers ended up passing two teams and winning the AL West.

Hamels allowed 4 runs over 7 innings in a Rangers win in Game 2 of the American League Division Series. He started Wednesday’s deciding Game 5 in Toronto. And… he lost. Unlike his stellar performances in deciding games for the Phils, Hamels gave up 5 runs on 4 hits in 6 1/3 innings. He had a 2-0 lead. The Blue Jays won, 6-3.

It wasn’t his fault, though. Hamels struck out 8 and walked 2. Only 2 of those 5 runs he allowed were earned. All 3 unearned runs scored after he was pulled.

The seventh inning of the game lasted almost an hour. It was weird and fun and entertaining, the kind of baseball game that makes you sad the Phillies might not be back in the playoffs for a long time. Before the 7th, Hamels allowed a Jose Bautista RBI double (ex-Phillie Ben Revere scored!) in the 3rd and an Edwin Encarnacion homer in the 6th. The game was tied at 2.

With a runner on 3rd and two outs in the top of the 7th, catcher Russell Martin tried to throw the ball back to the pitcher. It hit off the bat of Shin-Soo Choo and bounced into foul territory. Rougned Odor scored. The Rangers took a 3-2 lead.

The play was held up on review, and Jays fans littered the field with beer and trash. They accidentally threw beer at a baby. (Guess how Philadelphia sports fans reacted.)

In the bottom of the 7th, Cole Hamels actually got the first three batters to ground into what should have been outs. But Rangers infielders made three consecutive errors to load the bases with no one out. Hamels then got Revere to ground into a fielder’s choice at home. One down, but the bases were still loaded. Rangers manager Jeff Banister took out Hamels.

You can guess what happened next: Sam Dyson blew the save, giving up a pop-up fielder’s choice that tied it and then a massive, three-run blast to Bautista, who threw his bat into the stratosphere. Suddenly, Hamels had given up 5 runs and lost.

(Also in the seventh inning, the benches cleared. Twice! It was really entertaining. Let’s hope all the prospects the Phillies got this season work out and the Phillies are good for a decade again.)

In other ex-Phillie news, the Dodgers — who have Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley — play the Mets in a deciding Game 5 tomorrow night in Los Angeles. You might want to tune in, since the last time those two teams met in L.A. Utley broke someone’s leg. Bobby Clarke-esque!