Rangers off and run­ning in sec­ond half

Hamil­ton hits three dou­bles as texas blows away Bos­ton

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - By Jimmy Golen

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.

Charles Krupa

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