Josh Hamilton leads offensive onslaught
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton is getting some sleep now. His fourth daughter was born Friday (earlier than expected), and now that everyone is home and getting adjusted, Hamilton is starting to find his groove.
He said he's been wanting to try to "let it loose" more, and there's little doubt he did that in Wednesday's 9-1 win.
It started with a walk in the fourth inning. Hamilton was leading off the inning, and after swinging and missing at the first pitch he saw, he watched four straight balls go by. A few pitches later, Michael Young slammed a double, and Hamilton was off and running, never hesitating as he came all the way home with the first run of the game.
But Hamilton's fourth inning wasn't over. The No. 3 hitter walked to the plate with the bases loaded and hit a grand slam that just cleared the wall in left-center. Hamilton said he wasn't sure it was a homer until he heard the crowd.
It was his third career grand slam and first since May 27, 2008, at Tampa Bay. He has homered in two straight games and six of his past 14 home games.
"I'm working on getting the confidence back and trying to hit the ball hard again," Hamilton said. "Once you do that for a few times in a row, the confidence comes back. You don't worry necessarily about the results. I had some good at-bats and I had some quality swings, aggressive swings, and I hit the ball hard."
His teammates aren't surprised to see him getting results now.
"Honestly, he's not even close to being hot yet," said Ian Kinsler, who had a homer Wednesday. "He's having some good at-bats. He's really grinding and trying to figure himself out as a player. He's still young in terms of years played in the game. He's still trying to figure himself out, which is scary. He's done some great things and he's a great player, but he wants to get better."
But the solid offensive effort is not simply about Hamilton. It seems everyone in the Rangers' lineup is contributing.
"It's going really well," said Young, who got his team-leading 98th RBI on Wednesday. "We're having good at-bats one through nine. And as usual, we're getting production from everybody."
Young singled out Craig Gentry and David Murphy as two guys who are contributing that maybe many didn't expect.
"If someone is out or injured, guys are stepping up," Young said.
The Rangers have had 12 or more hits in seven straight games. The last major league team to do that was Houston in 2007. Texas scored eight runs in that monster fourth inning, the most the Rangers have scored in one inning since putting 11 runs on the board in the fifth inning against Tampa Bay on Sept. 26, 2009. The victory puts the Rangers at 21 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 1999 season. This is the second-best record at the 149-game mark in club history (1999).
"We are capable of scoring a lot of different ways, and we've shown that," Kinsler said. "We just want to keep it going."
It helps when the 2010 MVP plays like an MVP. He has the past few games and certainly was at a high level Wednesday.
* The Rangers hit three homers Wednesday and have hit a homer in seven straight games. That's the second-longest streak by Texas this season (11 June 20-29).
* Adrian Beltre has a career-high 18-game hit streak and was 2-for-4. He's tied with Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury for the longest active streak in the big leagues.
* Kinsler has 29 homers, eight in 12 games this month. He needs three more September homers to match the club record for the month set by Alex Rodriguez in 2001.
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