ARLINGTON, Texas — Josh Hamilton snapped out of his
extended power drought with two home runs and Brandon McCarthy pitched into the
seventh inning of his first start in nearly three months, leading the Texas
Rangers past the Toronto Blue Jays 5-2 Tuesday night for a doubleheader sweep.
Hamilton had gone 23 games and 99 at-bats since his
previous homer Aug. 7 until a 435-foot drive over the Rangers' bullpen in
right-center on the first pitch of the fourth. An inning later, Hamilton pulled
a two-run shot down the right-field line.
Chris Davis, who had a tiebreaking, two-run single to
help the Rangers win the opener by the same 5-2 score, added a solo homer in the
nightcap along with an infield single that got David Murphy home from second
McCarthy (6-2) was activated from the 60-day disabled
list (stress fracture in right shoulder blade) and made his first start since
June 4. The right-hander allowed one run and three hits in 6 1-3 innings. He was
pulled after Lyle Overbay's RBI double.
Frank Francisco worked the ninth for his second save of
the day and 21st in 24 chances this season.
The Rangers gained a half-game in the AL wild-card race,
moving within 3 1/2 games of Boston. The Red Sox won 8-4 at Tampa Bay, which
dropped 2 1/2 games behind Texas and six behind Boston.
Still, it wasn't all good news for the Rangers.
All-Star third baseman Michael Young left the second game
with a strained left hamstring sustained while running out a grounder in the
third inning. The Rangers said Young would have an MRI on Wednesday and be
Both homers by Hamilton came off rookie left-hander Brian
Tallet (5-9), who struck out four and walked four in five innings.
Davis hit a two-out grounder in the fourth to first
baseman Overbay, then beat Tallet to the bag for an infield single. Murphy never
stopped running to score from second.
Davis' 17th homer made it 5-0 in the sixth. Hamilton,
who has been on the DL twice this season, has 10 homers.
Ian Kinsler hit a leadoff homer in the opener, and the
game was tied 1-all with two outs in the fourth when Davis singled home two runs
with a grounder that skipped under Overbay's glove.
Dustin Nippert (5-2) allowed two runs over six innings
before hard-throwing rookie Neftali Feliz struck out four in two perfect
Three of the punchouts by Feliz were called third
strikes with off-speed pitches, the last on Aaron Hill. After a 97 mph fastball
whizzed by Hill's head, and he fell to the ground getting out of the way, Feliz
snapped off a 79 mph breaking ball to freeze him for strike three.
"It's unbelievable. I was sitting on the training room
table watching it," Nippert said. "It's unreal, his stuff. I've never seen
anything like it. It's a lot of fun to watch."
Feliz has 26 strikeouts and one walk in 11 appearances
spanning 19 2-3 innings since being promoted to the majors Aug. 2. The
21-year-old right-hander had a major league-best 0.51 ERA in August before
lowering his career mark to 0.46 on the first day of September.
"As long as he's throwing that secondary stuff over the
plate, they just can't sit on (the fastball)," Rangers manager Ron Washington
said. "That's what's important."
Kinsler's seventh leadoff homer this season and 12th of
his career, both Rangers records, came on the third pitch from rookie
left-hander Marc Rzepczynski (2-4).
Rzepczynski struck out a career-high nine in six
innings, but also allowed eight hits.
Adam Lind homered and scored both Toronto runs. That
came a day after Lind hit two homers with a career-high eight RBIs in an 18-10
victory in the series opener. His 28th homer pulled Toronto to 3-2 in the sixth.
Kinsler has 29 homers and 28 stolen bases, just
short of becoming the third second baseman in major league history to join the
30-30 club. … Blue Jays SS Marco Scutaro made two errors in the first game,
the first time in 330 games he has committed multiple errors. He was charged
with four on July 6, 2007. Scutaro had only four errors in his first 126 games
this season. … Young was 0 for 2 with two walks in the opener to end his
18-game hitting streak, which had been the longest active streak in the majors.
He had also hit in 23 consecutive games at Rangers Ballpark, tying Ivan
Rodriguez's team mark set in 1995.
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