Through tragedy and triumph, this will be a series Josh Hamilton
will never forget.
Less than 24 hours after lifting the AL West-leading Texas
Rangers to a dramatic walkoff victory, the reigning AL MVP will try
to help the club head into the All-Star break on a season-best
seven-game winning streak Sunday when it hosts the Oakland
Just two days after throwing a ball into the left field stands
to Rangers fan Shannon Stone, who fell over the railing trying to
catch it and eventually died, Hamilton found himself at the center
of a homeplate celebration Saturday when his two-out, two-run shot
off A’s closer Andrew Bailey gave the Rangers (50-41) a 7-6
It was Hamilton’s fourth hit of the night and second career
“It’s been an up-and-down, roller coaster-type weekend, with
everything that happened to Mr. Stone and his family. Obviously
we’re thinking about him and grieving about the situation,”
Hamilton said. “Tonight takes you from one extreme to the other
pretty quick. I feel blessed I had the opportunity to do it.”
Hamilton’s heroics gave the Rangers their fourth straight win
over the Athletics and kept them one game ahead of the surging
Angels for the division lead.
Sunday’s scheduled starter Matt Harrison (6-7, 3.28 ERA) will
try to help Texas head into the break atop the standings and notch
its first seven-game winning streak since Sept. 8-15. The Rangers
won the first six games of this season.
Harrison is 2-1 with a 2.35 ERA in his last four home starts
after yielding just two runs despite a career-high-tying 11 hits in
Texas’ 4-2 victory over Baltimore on Tuesday.
“I knew it was going to be one of those nights,” Harrison told
the Rangers’ official website. “The big key was getting out of that
first inning (with just one run allowed). That definitely got my
confidence up, and I just battled the whole game.”
The left-hander didn’t put up much of a fight in a 7-2 loss at
Oakland on May 1 when he was tagged for four runs and six hits in a
season-low 1 2-3 innings.
He was 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA in his three previous starts against
Harrison will face an Athletics team that is trying to avoid
getting swept in a four-game set at Texas for the first time since
June 19-22, 1986.
“It puts that much more importance on winning (Sunday),” said
manager Bob Melvin, whose club has dropped 12 of 17 following a
season-best 6-0 stretch. “You don’t want to get swept four games
going into the (All-Star) break. You don’t want to sit on
Giving the ball to Trevor Cahill (8-6, 3.17) could help the A’s
(39-52) leave Texas with one victory.
The young right-hander won’t be making his second straight
appearance at the Midsummer Classic, but he’s looked like an
All-Star against Texas in 2011, allowing one run over 14 innings
while winning both his starts.
He struck out seven in seven innings of a 7-2 victory in
Arlington on May 9 to improve to 8-2 with a 2.18 ERA in 11 career
starts against the Rangers.
Hamilton, 5 for 15 against Cahill, is batting .353 with 10
homers and 40 RBIs in 48 career games versus Oakland.