STEPHEN HAWKINS, AP Sports Writer
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Cole Hamels allowed only two singles over eight innings for his 14th victory, Carlos Gomez hit a three-run homer in his first at-bat with Texas and the AL-best Rangers beat the Cleveland Indians 9-0 on Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series matching division leaders.
Hamels (14-4) retired 19 straight batters after Francisco Lindor’s solid two-out single to left in the first. The only other baserunner for the Indians was Carlos Santana after a leadoff hit in the eighth, though he was stranded at second after advancing on a passed ball.
Adrian Beltre and Rougned Odor also homered for the Rangers (75-53).
Hamels struck out eight without a walk, and the lefty improved to 21-5 in his 38 starts since the Rangers acquired him last season when he was coming off a no-hitter in his last start for the Philadelphia Phillies. It was the longest scoreless outing for a Texas starter this season.
Josh Tomlin (11-8) lost his fifth consecutive start in August and has a 10.80 ERA in those games. This was the fourth time in that stretch the right-handed Texas native didn’t make it out of the fifth, allowing eight runs and six hits in 4 1-3 innings.
Tomlin was gone after Beltre’s three-run homer put Texas up 8-0.
The AL Central-leading Indians (72-54) were shut out for the fourth time this season, and that came after being held to exactly one run in each of their three games at Oakland earlier this week.
Tony Barnette pitched the ninth to wrap up the third shutout this season for the Rangers.
Gomez made his Rangers debut five days after signing a minor league deal with the team and playing three games at Triple-A Round Rock. The 30-year-old two-time All-Star outfielder hit .210 with five homers in 85 games this season with the Houston Astros before being designated for assignment and then last week given his unconditional release.
After Tomlin retired the first five batters, Jonathan Lucroy singled and Mitch Moreland walked before Gomez hit a drive deep into the seats in left field for a 3-0 lead.
Ian Desmond’s RBI single in the fifth was the third consecutive Rangers hit that inning. Carlos Beltran was then credited with a fielder’s choice RBI on first baseman Mike Napoli’s throwing error before Beltre’s 22nd homer this season, and 435th of his career.
The Rangers had eight hits, one each by eight players. The only Texas starter without a hit was Beltran, who is in an 0-for-28 slide after going hitless in four at-bats. … Odor’s solo shot in the eighth was his 24th homer.
Indians: Instead of activating reliever Tommy Hunter from the DL next week as planned, the Indians released the right-hander who has been out since the All-Star break with a back issue.
Rangers: RHP Colby Lewis (right lat strain) said he was “sore in all the right places” after throwing 44 pitches in his first rehab start Wednesday. He will make another rehab start Monday and hopes to return to the Rangers rotation Sept. 3.
Indians: All-Star RHP Corey Kluber (13-8), the 2014 AL Cy Young winner, is 5-0 with a 1.78 ERA his last eight starts.
Rangers: LHP Martin Perez (8-9) is 7-1 with a 2.36 ERA in 13 home starts this season.
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