Power surge: Hamilton hits four home runs
The Texas Rangers slugger had never before hit more than two home runs in a game, and he already had three. So as he took his place in the batter’s box against Baltimore right-hander Darren O’Day, Hamilton already had a feeling of accomplishment.
“I just went up like it was any other at-bat because if I don’t hit one,” Hamilton reasoned, “I’ve still had a really good night.”
It turned out to be unforgettable.
Hamilton became the 16th player to hit four home runs in a game, launching a quartet of two-run drives against three different pitchers to carry the Rangers to a 10-3 victory 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 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.
“Obviously it’s, other than being in the World Series, the highlight of my big-league career,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton 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.
“Amazing,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “Josh came out tonight, and he wasn’t going to be denied.”
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.
“History was witnessed tonight,” Washington said.
Hamilton is the sixth AL player to perform the feat. The last 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.