Even under the weather, Josh Hamilton is tough to stop.
Hamilton hit a two-run homer in the 13th inning as the Texas Rangers rallied to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 8-7 Saturday.
Nelson Cruz, Yorvit Torrealba and Mitch Moreland hit consecutive homers for Texas in the sixth inning.
Hamilton’s game-ending homer, the third of his career, came while he was fighting an upper respiratory infection. Hamilton had to get IV fluids and oxygen after the game, and he used ammonia towels and fluids during the game to fend off the effects of the 91 degree heat. The mid-day game lasted 4 hours, 38 minutes.
”I’ve been seeing stars since the fifth inning,” Hamilton said. ”I hit a wall. I was light-headed and seeing those little stars.”
Toronto had taken a 7-5 lead in the top of the 13th, but Elvis Andrus doubled in a run off Ryota Igarashi to start the comeback. Jason Frasor (0-1), Toronto’s seventh pitcher, then threw a splitter up in the strike zone on a 1-2 count for Hamilton’s league-leading 20th home run.
”No matter if he’s sick or hurt, every time he plays, he’s a hard out,” Andrus said. ”I don’ think he has to be 100 percent to hit a homer – I do. I have to be 100 percent to hit a home run. But he could hit it with one arm and would still be able to hit it out.”
When Ian Kinsler walked to start the inning, it was the fifth-straight inning that the Rangers got their leadoff batter on base. The Rangers left a runner stranded at third base in the seventh, ninth, 10th and 11th innings, and before Hamilton’s hit, Texas was 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position.
”That was huge,” Washington said. ”We certainly needed it. We didn’t deserve to lose that ballgame, because we put ourselves in position quite a few times. Josh wasn’t the only one out there on fumes, everybody was out there on fumes.”
In the top of the 13th, Omar Vizquel hit an RBI single for Toronto and later scored after Nelson Cruz misplayed a flyball by Yunel Escobar with two outs. Vizquel went 3 for 6 with his first two RBI’s of the season.
Yoshinori Tateyama (1-0), the seventh Rangers pitcher, got one out for the win.
Texas relievers Mike Adams, Joe Nathan, Koji Uehara and Robbie Ross combined to retire 14 in a row starting with the final out of the seventh until Ross walked Colby Rasmus with one out in the 12th.
The Rangers got out of that inning even after Rasmus made it to third on Edwin Encarnacion’s single with two outs when J.P. Arencibia grounded out to Ross. Then in the 13th, Ross gave up a single to Brett Lawrie with one out, leading the way for Vizquel’s RBI.
”You have very good offensive clubs on both sides, so we both knew we had to be sharp,” Nathan said. ”We were able to be very effective and efficient throughout that 14-straight, so it really wasn’t in flux until the end there. We kind of joked and said to our offense that if they needed some drama, we would have given up a run earlier. I would have given up one in the ninth if they needed that motivation.”
Kinsler led off the game with a double, and Andrus followed with a fielder’s choice that Kinsler beat out at third base. Hamilton grounded out to score Kinsler for a quick 1-0 lead for Texas, then Andrus scored on Adrian Beltre’s sacrifice fly.
Texas’ 2-0 lead held up until the fifth when Rasmus homered off the right field pole to tie it.
David Cooper had an RBI single in the sixth and Texas starter Colby Lewis deflected Vizquel’s bunt toward first base for a run-scoring hit to make it 4-2.
Lewis left after 5 1-3 innings having given up 10 hits.
Texas’ big bats came alive in the bottom of the sixth inning. After consecutive groundouts to pitcher Henderson Alvarez, Texas’ 7-8-9 hitters Cruz, Torrealba and Moreland each hit 400-plus foot home runs to left-center field. Torrealba’s and Moreland’s drives landed in the Toronto bullpen for a 5-4. It was the seventh time in club history the Rangers hit three consecutive home runs in an inning. The Rangers did it twice last year, the last time being Sept. 27 against the Angels.
Alvarez, who pitched 5 2-3 innings and gave up five runs on nine hits, was ejected after he threw a pitch far inside to Kinsler just after giving up the back-to-back-to-back home runs.
Toronto tied the game 5-all after Jose Bautista hit a leadoff double and scored when J.P. Arencibia singled.
NOTES: P Scott Feldman threw batting practice before the game to get some work in between starts since he has been filling in for injured starting RHP Neftali Feliz, who went on the disabled list Monday with a sprained right UCL. Feldman took a loss Wednesday in Seattle, throwing 4 1-3 innings and giving up five earned runs, and he is slated to start again on Tuesday also against Seattle. .It was the Rangers 15th sellout of the season with 47,430 fans in attendance.