Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Reaction: Josh Hamilton’s 4 HRs boost Texas
By Richard Durrett
BALTIMORE -- Josh Hamilton belted four home runs -- yes, four -- as the Texas Rangers defeated the Baltimore Orioles 10-3 on Tuesday. Neftali Feliz made an early lead hold up. But clearly Hamilton is the story. He's the 16th player in big league history to hit four homers in a game. More on all of that to come. Some quick thoughts:
What it means: The win guarantees the Rangers at least a split in the four-game series, which ends the club's series losing streak at three.
Hamilton's four homers: Hamilton is the first Rangers player to hit four homers in a game -- and all of them two-run homers. He did it off three pitchers -- Jake Arrieta, Zach Phillips and Darren O'Day -- and set a career high with eight RBIs. He had 18 total bases in the game, an American League record, and five extra-base hits, which ties a big league record. If you include Hamilton's final at-bat of Monday's win over Baltimore, he had two-run homers on three straight at-bats and five in his past six. ... He leads the AL with 14 homers and 36 RBIs. ... All four times Tuesday, Elvis Andrus was on base ahead of Hamilton (with a walk in the first, a bunt single in the third, a single in the seventh and a fielder's choice in the eighth). ... Hamilton has an eight-game hitting streak and is batting .448 (13-for-29) with six homers and 17 RBIs during that span.
Hamilton likes first-pitch swings: Hamilton still leads the league in percentage of first-pitch swings (he was at 56.5 percent going into the game). On balls in play on the first pitch, Hamilton is now 10-for-22 (.454) with three homers and eight RBIs.
Lots of bases: Hamilton had 18 total bases Tuesday (four homers and a double), and if you count his last at-bat Monday, he's got 22 total bases in his past six plate appearances.
Back-to-back jacks: For the fourth time this season, the Rangers hit back-to-back home runs as Adrian Beltre hit one following Hamilton's blast in the third. It's the second time Hamilton and Beltre have hit consecutive homers in 2012 (they did it in Boston on April 17).
Feliz has solid outing: Feliz had a 5-0 lead in Toronto and couldn't hold it. But on Tuesday, he got another 5-0 lead and did the job. He appeared to run out of gas a bit in the sixth but allowed just one run on four hits with a career-high eight strikeouts. Feliz struck out seven of the batters on 96-97 mph fastballs and one on an 88 mph changeup. He got six swinging strikeouts and one looking.
Long at-bat: Feliz's first at-bat of the game was 10 pitches to former Ranger Endy Chavez. Feliz threw seven fastballs in the at-bat, all of them between 95 and 99 mph, and got a strikeout on a foul tip of a fastball.
Other way:Nelson Cruz, who got some hits Monday after going through an extended slump, had two more hits Tuesday for his second consecutive multihit game. Both of his hits were to right field. Manager Ron Washington has stressed that Cruz is at his best when he uses the middle of the field or goes the other way. He did that Tuesday.
Tidbits: The Orioles employed the shift on Mitch Moreland, and he hit the ball between first and second in his first at-bat, which was fielded by the shortstop for the out. Moreland was 0-for-4, and three of those ground balls went to the right side. ... Andrus hit his first bunt single of the season in the third inning. ... Chris Davis, the former Ranger, is now 1-for-15 with eight strikeouts in his past three games. ... LHP Robbie Ross gave up two runs, both on homers.
Up next: RHP Colby Lewis goes up against LHP Wei-Yin Chen in the third game of the series at 6:05 p.m. CT on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and FSSW.