Rangers 10, Orioles 3
Moments before he made history with his final swing in an
incredible four-homer performance, Josh Hamilton stepped to the
plate in the eighth inning with a surprising sense of calm.
The Texas Rangers slugger had never before hit more than two
home runs in a game, and he already had three. So as he took his
place in the batter’s box against Baltimore right-hander Darren
O’Day, Hamilton already had a feeling of accomplishment.
”I just went up like it was any other at-bat because if I don’t
hit one,” Hamilton reasoned, ”I’ve still had a really good
It turned out to be unforgettable.
Hamilton became the 16th player to hit four home runs in a game,
launching a quartet of two-run drives against three different
pitchers to carry the Rangers to a 10-3 victory Tuesday.
Hamilton homered off Jake Arrieta in the first and third
innings, added another off Zach Phillips in the seventh and topped
it off with a one-for-the-books shot against O’Day. During the last
at-bat, Hamilton took a mighty hack and missed, lined a foul into
right-field seats and then sent an 0-2 pitch over the center-field
”Obviously it’s, other than being in the World Series, the
highlight of my big-league career,” Hamilton said. ”I was saying
after I hit two I’ve never hit three in a game before, and what a
blessing that was. Then to hit four is just an awesome feeling, to
see how excited my teammates got.
”It reminds you of when you’re in Little League and a little
kid, and just the excitement and why we play the game. Things like
that. You never know what can happen. It was just an absolute
Hamilton also doubled in the fifth inning. His 18 total bases is
a new single-game American League record, and his eight RBIs are a
”Amazing,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. ”Josh came
out tonight, and he wasn’t going to be denied.”
The last player to hit four home runs in a game was Carlos
Delgado on Sept. 25, 2003, for Toronto against Tampa Bay. Two of
the 16 players to hit four homers in a game did it before 1900.
”History was witnessed tonight,” Washington said.
”It’s like anything else – you do something good or something
incredible happens, it takes a little bit for it to sink in,”
Hamilton said. ”I think when I get away from everybody and I have
some time to myself, I think it might then.”
Hamilton is the sixth AL player to perform the feat. The last to
hit four homers in a game against the Orioles was Rocky Colavito in
1959, at old Memorial Stadium.
”He’s the best athlete in baseball,” teammate Nelson Cruz said
of Hamilton. ”If anybody can do it, he can do it.”
Elvis Andrus got on base ahead of Hamilton in each instance,
said, ”He kept hitting bombs and bombs. It feels really good
because I don’t have to run that hard to score.”
Hamilton, who is in the final year of his contract and could
become a free agent after this season, leads the AL with 14 homers
and 36 RBIs, and his 5-for-5 effort raised his batting average to
He also set the Texas single-game club record with five
extra-base hits, breaking the mark of four held by eight players.
Hamilton has homered in five of his last six at-bats, counting his
final trip to the plate Monday night.
Hamilton’s record-setting night is the latest accomplishment in
a career that almost never was.
He went from first round draft pick in 1999 by Tampa Bay to out
of baseball all together because of drug and alcohol addiction.
He recovered and returned to the majors in 2007 with Cincinnati,
and was traded to the Texas, where he has become a star – the AL
MVP in 2010 – while still battling his addiction. He had a relapse
before this season, but is off to a torrid start.
”Understanding that what I’m doing and what God’s allowed me to
do coming back from everything I went through and allowing me to
play the game at the level I play it, it’s pretty amazing to think
about,” Hamilton said.
Adrian Beltre also homered for the Rangers. Coming off a 14-3
win in the series opener, Texas has won two straight for the first
time since April 24-25 and are 20-10, their best-ever record after
Dating back to last season, Texas has won seven in a row over
Baltimore by a combined 70-18 score.
Rangers starter Neftali Feliz (2-1) gave up one run on four hits
and had a career-high eight strikeouts. Converted to starter after
notching 72 saves over the previous two seasons, Feliz had a 2-0
lead to protect before throwing his first pitch and maintained the
advantage – just like when he was closer.
The Orioles entered the series with the best record in the
majors after a 5-1 trip through Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park, but
they have looked more like a team with 14 straight losing seasons
in these two games against the two-time defending AL champions.
Arrieta (2-3) allowed six runs and nine hits in 6 1-3 innings.
He yielded a career-high three homers, matching the total he
surrendered in his first six starts this season.
His most notable flaw was his inability to keep Hamilton from
hitting the ball out of the park.
”It was the first time I’ve ever seen anything like that. Very
special hitter,” Arrieta said on Hamilton. ”He didn’t miss
J.J. Hardy and Nick Markakis hit consecutive solo homers for
Baltimore in the eighth, long after the outcome had been
The Rangers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning when
Andrus drew a one-out walk and Hamilton hit Arrieta’s next pitch
over the center-field wall.
It was more of the same in the third, and then some. After
Andrus reached on a chopper off the plate, Hamilton lined an
opposite-field drive into the left-field seats. Beltre followed
with this sixth home run, the fourth time in 30 games that Texas
has homered in successive at-bats.
Andrus singled in the seventh before Hamilton sent a drive over
the center-field wall against Phillips, who was recalled from
Triple-A Norfolk before the game.
After that, the only suspense was whether Hamilton would get
another at-bat. He did, and made it count.
NOTES: Andrus has reached base in 26 straight games. He is 16
for 33 on the road trip. … Despite Baltimore’s surprising start,
the game drew a meager crowd of 11,263. … Baltimore’s Chris Davis
singled in the eighth to snap an 0-for-14 skid.