Hamilton nets walk-off win, naturally
Slugger leaves long impression on Halos with first such feat
ARLINGTON -- The moment was electric. Josh Hamilton knew it when he sprinted around second base and saw his teammates pouring toward home plate."My first walk-off ever," Hamilton beamed afterward in the Rangers clubhouse. "My first helmet toss ever. I've always seen guys on TV toss their helmets and jump into the crowd at home plate. It's pretty cool." His teammates and 24,515 fans thought so. His teammates mobbed him and pummeled him at home plate in a group dance of triumph while 24,515 roared their approval after Hamilton hit a two-out, two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning off of All-Star closer Francisco Rodriguez to give the Rangers a 5-4 victory over the Angels at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Wednesday. The Rangers trailed, 4-2, going into the ninth inning before rallying to win and move within 6 1/2 games of the Angels in the American League West. The win came on a night when the Rangers had to get by with four relievers doing all their pitching because of injuries to their starters. But the Rangers are now 1-0 when Warner "Mad Dog" Madrigal is their starter. "How about them Rangers," manager Ron Washington said. "You talk about heart and character. We may be down but we're never out, and tonight we showed what we are made of and we did it against one of the best relievers in the game." The home run, coming on a 3-1 curveball, was Hamilton's first since June 17, a span of 70 at-bats. "It's been a real challenge," Hamilton said. "I was battling tonight until my last at-bat. But when something like that happens, it reminds you how much you love playing this game." The Rangers now have seven straight one-run games with their fourth walk-off victory of the season. They have also won two straight over the Angels with two rookie starting pitchers making the first start of their Major League careers.
|"My first walk-off ever, my first helmet toss ever. ... When something like that happens, it reminds you how much you love playing this game. "|
|-- Josh Hamilton|
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.