ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Cole Hamels delivered the type of performance the Texas Rangers hoped to get when they traded for him.
Hamels pitched his best game since being acquired by Texas, striking out 10 in eight innings Friday night in a 4-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles.
"This is what everybody kind of envisioned when we traded for him," catcher Chris Gimenez said.
The Rangers maintained their hold on the AL's second wild-card spot and moved within four games of West-leading Houston.
"This is the part of the season where everything is and everything's focused on. This is where you have to be at your best," said Hamels, a former World Series MVP.
Star outfielder Adam Jones started for the Orioles, a day after he ran into a wall and was forced to leave, but Baltimore lost for the eighth time in nine games.
Jones went 1 for 4 with two strikeouts, one coming with the bases loaded in the third inning.
"We just, offensively, haven't been putting much together," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "(Hamels) was good, and we weren't very good. So, that's a bad combination."
Hamels (2-1) gave up one run and two hits. Acquired from Philadelphia shortly before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, the three-time All-Star won for the first time at home after a pair of no-decisions.
The left-hander had pitched a no-hitter in his final start for the Phillies.
"I think he proved to everybody just how tough he is really and the type of pitcher he is," Texas manager Jeff Banister said.
Shawn Tolleson pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his 27th save in 29 chances.
Shin-Soo Choo and Gimenez hit solo home runs for Texas.
Kevin Gausman (2-6) allowed four runs and nine hits in 6 2-3 innings. He has made 11 starts this season, beginning in late June, with one win.
Hamels gave up a second-inning single to Matt Wieters and a third-inning double to Paul Janish, the latter followed by three walks that scored Baltimore's run.
Following the bases-loaded walk to Chris Davis, Hamels retired the next 14 batters.
In five starts for Texas since the trade, Hamels has a 3.89 ERA. He had a 3.64 ERA in 20 starts for the Phillies.
Gimenez's home run in the fifth inning was his career-high fourth of the season, all coming in his last 11 games since his recall from Triple-A Round Rock. He hit six homers in 185 games over parts of six seasons before this year.
Choo homered in the fourth inning and drove in a run in the fifth on an infield out. He has reached base safely in all 32 starts he's made since the All-Star break.
Orioles outfielder Dariel Alvarez made his major league debut after being called up from Triple-A Norfolk earlier in the day. The Cuban went 0 for 3.
In the second inning, Alvarez ran down a sinking liner hit by Elvis Andrus and threw home to nab Adrian Beltre to complete a double play.
Orioles: SS J.J. Hardy (groin) rejoined the team while on the disabled list through Sept. 8. He'll go through light workouts before swinging a bat or running.
Rangers: OF Josh Hamilton (sore left knee) took batting practice. He's eligible to come off the disabled list on Monday, the day before rosters are expanded.
Orioles: RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (9-8) has lasted six innings in one of five August starts.
Rangers: LHP Martin Perez (1-3) will pitch on eight days' rest. In his seven starts since being activated in mid-July following Tommy John surgery, Perez hasn't allowed a home run in 37 1-3 innings.
Before the game, the Rangers promoted LHP Andrew Faulkner from Round Rock and optioned RHP Nick Martinez to the same club. Faulkner was 7-4 at Double-A Frisco before going to Round Rock, where he struck out 13 of the 26 batters that he faced in six games.