ARLINGTON, Texas -- Josh Hamilton looked like a player trying to shake the rust off in his first three plate appearances Tuesday night.
With one big swing in the seventh, the Rangers center fielder looked more like the All-Star who took the league by storm last season.
Hamilton returned from the disabled list by hitting the go-ahead homer in a six-run seventh inning and the Texas Rangers won for the eighth time in 10 games, beating the Seattle Mariners 7-1.
"The at-bats before that weren't great," said Hamilton, who led the American League last year with 130 RBI. "But that one at-bat, it felt good. Anytime you can make plays or do something with the bat like hit a home run, it helps the confidence out."
Hamilton, activated after missing 13 games with a strained ribcage muscle, struggled in his first three at-bats before his two-run shot off Mariners reliever Mark Lowe (0-1) gave the Rangers a 3-1 lead.
Before he put the Rangers up for good, Hamilton bounced into a double play in the first, flew out in the third and struck out looking in the fifth. He had not played since April 26.
"Josh had some opportunities early and didn't come through," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "It took a load off his shoulders. That gave us the lead and we kept chipping and put more runs on the board."
Rookie Derek Holland (1-1) pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings to earn his first career victory.
Chris Davis homered for the fourth time in eight games for Texas, and Michael Young had three hits and was on base five times after missing two games with back stiffness.
Scott Feldman took a shutout into the seventh and gave up one run and four hits in 6 1/3 innings for the first-place Rangers, who have given two runs or less in six of nine games.
"We had opportunities that we didn't cash in," Washington said. "The pitching kept us there and we put something together in the seventh."
Mariners starter Jason Vargas, who is in the rotation for an injured Carlos Silva, allowed one run and five hits in five innings.
Seattle, which had only four hits, has lost seven of eight.
Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu was displeased with his team's lack of offense. The Mariners came into the game 12th in the American League in runs scored.
"We have to make adjustments or maybe we have to look into making some changes," Wakamatsu said.
Young singled with one out in the seventh, bringing Hamilton up to the plate. After swinging and missing on an off-speed pitch, Hamilton drove a fastball from Lowe over the 14-foot wall in left.
"I breathed a sigh of relief when I came in [to the dugout]," Hamilton said. "I gave everybody hugs and everybody was hugging me."
Nelson Cruz hit a sacrifice fly, Marlon Byrd scored on an error, Jarrod Saltalamacchia had an RBI double and Elvis Andrus added a run-scoring single to make it 7-1.
Texas sent up 12 batters in the seventh, and Lowe gave up six runs and five hits in two-thirds of an inning.
"I didn't think it was the right pitch," Lowe said of his approach against Hamilton. "I was trying to throw the fastball off the plate and he hit it."
Vargas made his first start since July 3, 2007, after missing the 2008 season because of hip surgery.
Davis homered off Vargas on the first pitch in the bottom of the fifth. His shot hit the top of the wall in right and bounced into the Rangers bullpen.
In the top of the seventh, Franklin Gutierrez singled and stole second. Kenji Johjima doubled down the line in right to tie the score at 1 and chase Feldman from the game.
Holland recorded the last two outs of the seventh to preserve the tie.
Rangers closer Frank Francisco was unavailable to pitch because of biceps tendinitis. General manager Jon Daniels said that Francisco may miss the rest of the three-game series.
Seattle DH Mike Sweeney remains bothered by lower back spasms and wasn't in the lineup. Wakamatsu said Sweeney is "about 95 percent." ... Davis struck out for the 50th time this season, the most in baseball.