Hamilton Belts Four Home Runs
BALTIMORE (AP) — Josh Hamilton became the 16th player to hit four home runs in a game, launching a quartet of two-run drives against three different pitchers in a history-making performance that carried the Texas Rangers to a 10-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on 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 Darren O’Day in the eighth. 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 wall.
He also doubled in the fifth inning. His 18 total bases is a new single-game American League record, and his eight RBIs are a career high.
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.
Hamilton is the sixth AL slugger to perform the feat. The last player to hit four homers in a game against the Orioles was Rocky Colavito in 1959, at old Memorial Stadium.
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 .406.
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.
Andrian 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 30 games.
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.
J.J. Hardy and Nick Markakis hit consecutive solo homers for Baltimore in the eighth, long after the outcome had been decided.
The Rangers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Elvis 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.