Rangers off and running in second half
Hamilton hits three doubles as texas blows away Boston
BOSTON — The Texas Rangers couldn’t wait for the AllStar break.
And then they couldn’t wait for it to end.
Josh Hamilton took over the major league batting lead with three doubles, helping the Rangers get off to a quick start in the second half with a sixrun first inning on their way to a 7-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Thursday night.
“Before the break, I felt like we needed a break. Some of the guys were tired,” Hamilton said. “Everybody got some rest and we came out stronger.”
Bengie Molina homered as Texas batted around in the first inning against Tim Wakefield. Nelson Cruz and Vladimir Guerrero had three hits apiece Josh Hamilton, left, high-fives Vladimir Guererro after they scored on Nelson Cruz’s single in the first inning. Hamilton improved his batting average to .351, best in the major leagues. for the Rangers, who lost their last four games heading into the break — against the lowly Baltimore Orioles — to open July with a 3-8 record.
“I think the break came at the right time,” said Rangers manager Ron Washington, whose team had gone 21-6 in June. “We were tired. When you play hard for as long as we did, it takes something out of you. We needed the days off, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.”
Tommy Hunter (6-0) held Boston to five hits before leaving with a 7-2 lead with two outs in the seventh. He allowed solo homers to Bill Hall and J.D. Drew.
Hamilton raised his batting average to .351 before being replaced by a pinch runner in the seventh inning because of soreness in his calf behind his right knee.
“It was just tight,” he said, adding that there was no need for an X-ray or MRI. “I could have stayed in and kept playing.”
Boston has lost six of its last eight games. Tim Wakefield (38) had his shortest outing since September 2008, allowing six earned runs on eight hits before leaving three batters into the third inning.
The Rangers entered the game with a 4½ game lead in the AL West despite being swept by Baltimore in the last four games before the All-Star break. That included Hunter’s worst start of the season, in which he took a 4-1 lead into the seventh but didn’t get an out in the inning; the Rangers blew the lead and lost 6-4, and Hunter got a no-decision.
“I left them in a bad situation in my last outing,” he said.