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07/28/12 1:28 AM ET
Slumping Hamilton booed by Rangers fans
Outfielder drives in two, but strikes out twice and has defensive lapses
By Christian Corona / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Josh Hamilton driving in runs is nothing new. But getting booed is. Hamilton went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts during Friday's 9-5 loss to the White Sox but managed to record his 82nd and 83rd RBIs, tying him with Miguel Cabrera for the Major League lead. He nearly hit his 29th home run in the first inning but settled for a sacrifice fly that brought Ian Kinsler home and drove in Craig Gentry by reaching on a fielder's choice in the seventh. "I saw one fastball," Hamilton said. "I hit it to center field. Then I saw lots of offspeed the rest of the game. Same old story." But Hamilton, who is batting .145 with three homers and 10 RBIs this month, was booed by the sellout crowd of 47,638 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Friday night after striking out swinging in the third and fifth innings. It was the seventh straight game Hamilton struck out at least once and marked the fifth time in his last 12 games that he has fanned multiple times. During that stretch, Hamilton has 19 strikeouts but only six hits in 46 at-bats. "It's disappointing. I'll leave it at that," Hamilton said. "I hadn't even thought about it. I noticed but it's all about, 'What have you done for me lately?', no matter who you are. That's what it is. There's more fans that are still cheering and encouraging me. I'll pray for the ones that aren't. I appreciate the support from the other ones." Hamilton also struggled in the field. He lost a fly ball off the bat of Adam Dunn in the first inning and, by the time he figured out where it was, it was too late. The ball fell on the outfield grass just out of Hamilton's reach and Dunn was awarded a single. The White Sox scored in the first on a sacrifice fly by Alex Rios as Rangers starter Yu Darvish threw 23 pitches in the inning. "Y'all know how the sun is," Hamilton said. "It was a little bit overcast at the beginning of the game but it was still tough. I couldn't see the ball until it was at its highest point. By the time it reached its highest point, I couldn't get there. Maybe I could have gotten there with a little slide. I didn't. I chose not to slide." In the fourth, on Gordon Beckham's hit to left field, Hamilton made an errant throw, allowing Beckham to have his 17th double of the year. Tyler Flowers advanced to third and the next batter, Alejandro De Aza, drove in both Flowers and Beckham with a single, giving the White Sox a 5-4 lead. "He certainly didn't play his best on the defensive end," said manager Ron Washington. "The throw in the gap hurt tremendously," Hamilton said. "I threw it anyway. There's 162 games. You're going to be sore at some point. I'm just out there playing, man. I take nothing personal from the fans. There's a lot more encouraging me than discouraging me." Hamilton went on to strike out for the 94th and 95th times, putting him among the league leaders. Since earning American League Player of the Month honors for his performance in May, Hamilton is batting .190 and slugging .290 with seven home runs, 26 RBIs and 56 strikeouts. In May, Hamilton batted .344 and hit 12 homers with 32 RBIs while striking out 22 times and posting a slugging percentage of .781. That must have seemed like a distant memory to the Rangers fans in attendance Friday. "That's the fans' business," Michael Young said. "We have a ton of faith in Josh. Josh has done a great job for this team. The fans are able to do what they want to do."
Christian Corona is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.