Thursday night it was Homecoming for Josh Hamilton as he returned to Globe Life Park in a Texas Rangers uniform for the first time since 2012.
In game two in Arlington for Hamilton is was Flashback Friday as Hamilton had the kind of game that made him a fan favorite and most of the most feared hitters in baseball.
Hamilton smacked homers in each of his first two at-bats to spark the Rangers to a 7-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox.
"I said it the first day back here in the press conference I think I can be the player I used to be," said Hamilton. "I really feel like that. It’s always good to do something for a home crowd that you’ve done things before for. It’s been fun the last two days."
The homers were the first of the year for Hamilton and marked the ninth time in his career he’s had a two-homer game, with seven of the nine coming in the comfortable Rangers’ uniform.
Hamilton’s first homer off knuckleballer Steven Wright gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead and his second off Wright snapped a 2-2 tie and gave the Rangers a lead they wouldn’t lose in front of 38,176.
Hamilton also provided a spark in his last at-bat after Boston had cut a Texas lead to 5-4 in the top of the eighth. Hamilton drew a two-out walk with the bases empty in the bottom of the eighth and the Rangers ended up scoring twice, with Robinson Chirinos delivering the insurance double.
Hamilton, who is now hitting .278 in his first five games with Texas, hadn’t homered since last Aug. 24, but is now 4 for 7 on the homestand with a double, two homers and three RBI. Now that he’s found a groove, he’s interested to see what kind of roll he can get on.
"It’s a sense of relief to get them out of the way," Hamilton said of the homer. "Okay I can still hit it out the park. It always helps your confidence but the key is not getting too excited about it. When I go up there like the last at-bat (the walk), take some hacks, get two strikes and focus a little harder."
While Hamilton was the big star for the Rangers Friday he had company as the Rangers got within a game of .500 again. Yovani Gallardo won for the fifth time by allowing one earned run over six innings. Rookie Hanser Alberto, making his first start in the majors, delivered an RBI triple ion a two-run seventh inning for his first hit in the majors.
They were big players for the Rangers but just like it was for five year the first time around, Hamilton stole the show.
"There’s no defense for a home run," Texas manager Jeff Banister said. "Good swings. I think if we face another knuckleballer I’m going to make sure he’s in the game. Josh is so quick with the bat he can wait extremely late and put a good pass on the ball. He didn’t try to do too much. He let the ball travel, let it get deep and put the best swing on it and both of them went out of the ballpark."