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Hamilton's two-out homer in 10th gets it done for Rangers

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Josh Hamilton hasn't hit very well in the sunshine this season, so Rangers manager Ron Washington planned to give him a rest.

Then Hamilton came into the skipper's office and talked his way into the lineup, arguing that game times don't matter in Minnesota's climate-controlled dome.

Yes, everything is going Hamilton's way these days. He hit a two-out homer in the 10th inning on Thursday afternoon to lift Texas past the Twins 8-7.

"He's a good player. If you throw balls across the plate, he's going to hit them. That was a big home run," Washington said. "And to the opposite field? Please."

Hamilton is off to an amazing start in his first two months with the Rangers, who acquired him in offseason trade with Cincinnati for top pitching prospect Edinson Volquez.

His drive into the left-field seats off a hanging full-count slider from Brian Bass (1-1) gave him 12 homers, matching Chicago's Carlos Quentin for the AL lead.

Hamilton also went 2-for-4 and moved past Minnesota's Joe Mauer for the best average in the league, .335. Oh, and he has 53 RBI, too, by far the most in the majors.

"He's one of those guys you can't make a mistake to," Bass said, kicking himself for not keeping the fateful pitch lower in the strike zone as he intended.

More than two-thirds of the schedule remains, so talk of a Triple Crown is premature. But Hamilton is beginning to get comfortable again with his craft, after injuries and drug problems stifled his career for nearly six years and kept him completely out of the game from 2003-05. Last year with the Reds was his first in the majors.

"I didn't really remember how to prepare," Hamilton said. "It was different. I learned a lot last year about how my body feels and how to get ready for games. I come in expecting to play every day, so if I come in and see my name not in the lineup, I don't like it. I want to be in the game and in the lineup unless something's wrong with me. If I don't have a crutch or something, I want to be in the lineup."

Joaquin Benoit (3-1) loaded the bases in the eighth and surrendered a two-run single to Justin Morneau that tied the game at 7, but he settled down for a scoreless ninth and the victory.

More importantly for the Rangers, who have won 17 of their last 26, closer C.J. Wilson pitched a perfect 10th inning for his ninth save after a few rough outings. Texas salvaged a split of the four-game series by collecting 33 hits over the last two contests. The Rangers are batting .343 with nine homers and 50 runs against Minnesota; they've met seven times this year.

That all starts with Hamilton.

"He does absolutely everything, and busts his butt everyday," Wilson said. "I'm just really happy to have such a productive guy in the middle of our lineup. What he's been doing offensively this year is out of control."

Carlos Gomez had a homer among his four hits and three RBI for the Twins, who have lost seven of their last 10 games. Gomez also made a fully extended diving catch of a sinking liner in center for the second straight day.

Rangers starter Vicente Padilla needed 102 pitches to get through five innings, giving up seven hits and two walks while striking out three, but he left with a 4-3 lead.

Chris Shelton's two-run double in the sixth chased Livan Hernandez, who had another tough time against Texas, which batted around in a four-run first -- a rally kick-started by a sacrifice fly from Hamilton.

The Twins tacked on two with bases-loaded walks against Rangers relievers in the sixth, but Morneau flied out to shallow left to leave the bases full.

After Morneau's tying hit, Delmon Young lined into a double play to lowlight a rough afternoon. One of three Minnesota regulars yet to homer, Young struck out twice and grounded into a bases-loaded double play to end the first inning.

"One more big hit and we would've had it," manager Ron Gardenhire said, adding: "They're up there trying. Guys are getting after it and rooting for each other."

One of the six runs given up by Hernandez was unearned, due to a dropped throw by Michael Cuddyer in the first. He walked two and struck out one.

Reliever Matt Guerrier threw away a sacrifice bunt he fielded in the seventh for another error while trying to get the lead runner at third for an error that let the Rangers score their seventh run.

The Twins have nine errors in their last five games.

"Fundamentally, that's what we're known for," Morneau said. "That's what we're supposed to do and we haven't done. It's pretty ugly."

Notes

  • With a split, the Rangers didn't win this series -- stopping a streak of seven. That was the longest in the majors this season and matched the second-longest since the move to Texas in 1972.
  • Hernandez failed to finish six innings for only the second time in 11 starts, both against the Rangers.
  • In his last 22 games, Gomez is batting .346 with 18 runs scored.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Josh Hamilton hits his 12th HR, tying him for the AL lead. He also has 53 RBI, tops in the majors.  (AP)
Josh Hamilton hits his 12th HR, tying him for the AL lead. He also has 53 RBI, tops in the majors. (AP)

Players of the Game
Texas

J. Hamilton
AB 5
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 2
Minnesota

C. Gomez
AB 5
R 2
H 4
HR 1
RBI 3
 
Texas Rangers
Ian Kinsler, 2B6120011 .299
Michael Young, SS5120110 .281
Josh Hamilton, RF5132011 .335
Milton Bradley, DH4221203 .322
David Murphy, LF5130102 .291
Gerald Laird, C5111014 .281
Marlon Byrd, CF5111013 .216
Ramon Vazquez, 3B-1B1010300 .337
Chris Shelton, 1B4012004 .234
   a- Jarrod Saltalamacchia, PH1000012 .205
    German Duran, 3B0000000 .192
Totals41816776  
a-struck out for Shelton in the 9th
Batting
2B - Michael Young (12, Hernandez), Milton Bradley (13, Bass), David Murphy (18, Hernandez), Ramon Vazquez (4, Hernandez), Chris Shelton (3, Hernandez)
HR - Josh Hamilton (12, Bass)
SF - Josh Hamilton (7)
SH - Ramon Vazquez (3)
RBI - Josh Hamilton 2 (53), Milton Bradley (27), Gerald Laird (18), Marlon Byrd (4), Chris Shelton 2 (5)
2-OUT RBI - Josh Hamilton (24)
SB - Ian Kinsler (14, 2nd base off Guerrier/Redmond), Josh Hamilton (2, 2nd base off Crain/Redmond), David Murphy (4, 2nd base off Nathan/Redmond)
Team LOB - 13
Fielding
DP - Kinsler-Young-Shelton, Young-Kinsler
Texas Rangers
Vicente Padilla 5733231 3.33
Jamey Wright (H,7) 0.2122210 3.71
Frank Francisco (H,2) 1.1100110 2.30
Joaquin Benoit (BS,3; W,3-1) 2322220 5.16
C.J. Wilson (S,9) 1000010 4.79
HBP - Gomez (by Jamey Wright)
Pitches-Strikes - Vicente Padilla 102-64, Jamey Wright 29-13, Frank Francisco 18-11, Joaquin Benoit 33-23, C.J. Wilson 12-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Vicente Padilla 6-5, Jamey Wright 1-0, Frank Francisco 2-1, Joaquin Benoit 1-2, C.J. Wilson 1-1
Batters Faced - Vicente Padilla 23, Jamey Wright 6, Frank Francisco 6, Joaquin Benoit 10, C.J. Wilson 3
Minnesota Twins
Carlos Gomez, CF5243000 .286
Brendan Harris, SS4001102 .255
Michael Cuddyer, 1B4021220 .227
Justin Morneau, DH3012203 .303
Delmon Young, LF5000025 .278
Craig Monroe, RF4000020 .236
   a- Joe Mauer, PH-C1000010 .333
Mike Redmond, C4120000 .200
   b- Jason Kubel, PH-RF0000100 .248
Mike Lamb, 3B5110013 .222
Alexi Casilla, 2B4320101 .278
Totals39712778  
a-struck out for Monroe in the 9th
b-walked for Redmond in the 9th
Batting
2B - Alexi Casilla (1, Padilla)
HR - Carlos Gomez (4, Padilla)
SH - Brendan Harris (5)
RBI - Carlos Gomez 3 (17), Brendan Harris (11), Michael Cuddyer (15), Justin Morneau 2 (37)
2-OUT RBI - Carlos Gomez 2 (12), Brendan Harris (7), Michael Cuddyer (5)
Team LOB - 11
Fielding
DP - Casilla-Harris-Cuddyer, Casilla-Harris-Cuddyer, Harris-Casilla-Cuddyer, Casilla-Harris-Cuddyer
E - Michael Cuddyer (1, Throwing), Matt Guerrier (1, Throwing)
Minnesota Twins
Livan Hernandez 5.11065210 4.22
Matt Guerrier 1.2210300 3.62
Jesse Crain 1100000 3.78
Joe Nathan 1100130 1.42
Brian Bass (L,1-1) 1211121 3.90
IBB - Vazquez by Matt Guerrier, Vazquez by Joe Nathan, Murphy by Brian Bass
HBP - Laird (by Livan Hernandez)
Pitches-Strikes - Livan Hernandez 93-56, Matt Guerrier 34-18, Jesse Crain 11-8, Joe Nathan 23-13, Brian Bass 25-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Livan Hernandez 9-4, Matt Guerrier 4-0, Brian Bass 1-0
Batters Faced - Livan Hernandez 27, Matt Guerrier 9, Jesse Crain 4, Joe Nathan 5, Brian Bass 6
Game Information
Attendance - 23126
Game Time - 3:42
Temperature - 68
Umpires - Home - Adrian Johnson, First Base - Tim Tschida, Second Base - Jim Joyce, Third Base - Jeff Nelson