NEW YORK -- With two swings of the bat in the Rangers' 10-3 win over the Yankees in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series on Tuesday night, Josh Hamilton etched his name into the record books.Hamilton hit his third and fourth long balls to match the LCS record and became just the second Rangers player with a multi-homer game in the postseason, joining Juan Gonzalez, who went deep twice in Game 2 of the 1996 AL Division Series against the Yankees. Hamilton has simply been on fire. He's batting .333 with four homers, seven RBIs, five walks and three stolen bases to help lead the Rangers to a 3-1 ALCS lead. "I feel like my swing is getting better," said Hamilton, who went just 2-for-18 against the Rays in the ALDS. "I'm starting to barrel more balls up and squaring the ball better. I put a couple good swings on the ball tonight." His play has certainly amazed his teammates.
"He's the best baseball player I've ever played with," Cliff Lee said. "I don't know any other better compliment to give him other than that. He's a special player and the type that comes along just about every 15 years."He's a lot different than just about anybody in this game. Josh at 70 or 80 percent is still better than anybody else at 100 percent. He's a great player who does every aspect of the game very well. Everyone knows he hits, but with his speed, his arm and the way he runs the bases, he's head and shoulders over everybody else in this game."
Hamilton, who hit a three-run homer off left-hander CC Sabathia in the first inning of Game 1 and a two-run shot in the first inning of Game 3 against left-hander Andy Pettitte, waited until the seventh inning to homer in Game 4.This time it came against another left-hander, reliever Boone Logan, and with it, Hamilton become the fourth left-handed batter in history to hit at least three home runs off left-handed pitchers in a single postseason series. But Hamilton wasn't even sure if this one would even leave the yard, as he just got enough of it to give extend the Rangers lead to 6-3.
"That one, I was kind of willing it out as I ran up the first-base line," Hamilton said with a smile. "I was saying, 'Please go, Please go.' So I was pretty excited about it."Hamilton later hit his fourth postseason homer with another solo blast, this time against right-hander Sergio Mitre on a 2-1 sinker that caught too much of the plate. "He threw me some sinkers and tried to get one over the plate, and I was able to square it up and hit a line drive," Hamilton said. Hamilton has had an impressive series to say the least, but it's even more impressive considering he missed most of September with two broken ribs and has just recently been getting into his swing. "Josh had a great game tonight and has been swinging the bat great this series," third baseman Michael Young said. "We know the versatility he brings to our offense. Those last two at-bats were his best two, so hopefully he'll keep it rolling." Another Hamilton big fly would break the tie for the LCS homers record. B.J. Upton and Evan Longoria are the most recent co-holders, as both accomplished the feat in 2008 against the Red Sox. Bob Robertson (Pirates, 1971), Steve Garvey (Dodgers, 1978), Jeffrey Leonard (Giants, 1987), Jim Thome (Indians, 1998), Carlos Beltran (Astros, 2004) and Albert Pujols (Cardinals, 2004) round out the group. But Hamilton is more worried about getting just one more win to send the Rangers to their first World Series appearance. "It's great knowing we've taken the first two," Hamilton said of their wins at Yankee Stadium. "So we can be relaxed and have no reason to press. And so we can get our rest and do our routines to get ready for the game and we'll see what happens."
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.