2012-05-09 / State/National Sports

Tour de fourth

Rangers’ Hamilton belts four homers
By DAVID GINSBURG
AP Sports Writer


Texas Rangers’ Josh Hamilton watches his two-run home run in the third inning against the Baltimore Orioles in Baltimore Tuesday night. Hamilton became the 16th player in Major League Baseball history to hit four home runs in one game. He drove in eight runs as the Rangers won 10-3. 
AP Photo by PATRICK SEMANSKY Texas Rangers’ Josh Hamilton watches his two-run home run in the third inning against the Baltimore Orioles in Baltimore Tuesday night. Hamilton became the 16th player in Major League Baseball history to hit four home runs in one game. He drove in eight runs as the Rangers won 10-3. AP Photo by PATRICK SEMANSKY BALTIMORE (AP) — Josh Hamilton expects it will take some time before he realizes the significance of becoming the 16th player in baseball history to hit four home runs in a game.

He does, however, appreciate how fortunate he was to be playing baseball at Camden Yards on Tuesday night as a member of the Texas Rangers. Because, before his epic performance against the Baltimore Orioles, Hamilton had to do something even harder than launching a quartet of two-run homers.

He needed to save himself from personal ruin.

Hamilton went from firstround draft pick by Tampa Bay in 1999 to out of baseball altogether 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.

After going 5 for 5 with a career-high eight RBIs and setting an AL record with 18 total bases in the Rangers’ 10-3 win, Hamilton reflected on what his life was like before this unforgettable night.

“I think about what God’s done in my life, everything I did to mess it up,” he said. “To finally surrender everything and pursue that relationship with Christ on a daily basis and understanding when I don’t pursue it, I end up messing up. 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.”

Few players in the game today are playing at Hamilton’s level. He’s batting .406 and leads the majors with 13 homers and 36 RBIs.

That’s impressive, but not as mind-blowing as his heroics against the Orioles.

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-thebooks shot against Darren 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 wall.

“Amazing,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “Josh came out tonight, and he wasn’t going to be denied. I know he can’t do it every night, but what you saw tonight, he’s capable of it.”

“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.”

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.

Adrian Beltre also homered for the Rangers and Neftali Feliz (2-1) gave up one run on four hits and had a career-high eight strikeouts in six innings of work.

Yankees 5, Rays 3

NEW YORK (AP) — David Robertson struck out Carlos Pena with the bases loaded to end a rocky ninth inning in his first save chance since Mariano Rivera’s season-ending knee injury, helping New York end a seven-game skid against Tampa Bay.

Raul Ibanez homered twice, Curtis Granderson also connected and the Yankees handed James Shields (5-1) his first loss in seven starts this season.

Twins 5, Angels 0

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Scott Diamond pitched a careerbest seven scoreless innings in his season debut and Ryan Doumit hit a two-run homer, lifting Minnesota over Los Angeles.

Diamond (1-0) struck out six, the most in any of his eight major league starts, and allowed only four hits. He’s the first Twins starter to pitch this year without allowing a run.

Tigers 6, Mariners 4

SEATTLE (AP) — Justin Verlander won his 12th straight decision on the road, Prince Fielder homered and Detroit raced to an early lead before holding on to beat Seattle.

Verlander wasn’t his sharpest, giving up three runs and seven hits, but he retired nine of his final 10 batters, struck out six and went at least six innings for the 49th straight start.

Royals 6, Red Sox 4

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Billy Butler hit a mammoth three-run homer in the eighth inning to lead Kansas City past Boston.

Chris Getz and Humberto Quintero also drove in runs for the Royals.

Athletics 7, Blue Jays 3

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Newcomer Brandon Inge hit a game-ending grand slam to cap a five-run ninth inning rally for Oakland against Toronto.

The Blue Jays took the lead in the top of the ninth off Grant Balfour (1-1) when Eric Thames hit a leadoff triple and scored on Kelly Johnson’s two-out single.

White Sox 5, Indians 3

CLEVELAND (AP) — Alex Rios tripled home the go-ahead run in the 10th inning to lead Chicago over Cleveland.

Cleveland closer Chris Perez (0-1) yielded a leadoff single to Paul Konerko, who was replaced by pinch-runner Brent Lillibridge. After A.J. Pierzynski fouled out, Rios lined a ball over the head of second baseman Jason Kipnis that rolled all the way to the wall.

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