Josh Hamilton comes up huge again for Rangers

OAKLAND, Calif. —Josh Hamilton emerged from a postgame workout in the weight room sporting a royal blue “HAMILTON MACHINE” T-shirt. And nobody can argue with the message.

Hamilton keeps one-upping himself. There’s no choice—hardly anyone in the majors can keep up with his production.

Hamilton hit a three-run homer to increase his major league-leading RBI total to 103, and the Texas Rangers beat All-Star pitcher Justin Duchscherer and the Oakland Athletics 9-4 on Saturday.

“That ball was hit well,” Hamilton said. “I don’t know if I can hit a ball much better.”

The night before, Hamilton hit a two-run shot and reached 100 RBIs for the first time in his career—in his 99th game of the season, no less.

Chris Davis hit a solo homer and doubled in a run, Marlon Byrd added a solo shot and Jarrod Saltalamacchia had a two-run double for Texas, which took the lead in the third. But Duchscherer settled down and retired eight straight during one stretch before running into more trouble.

“No. 1, they did their homework on Duke,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “No. 2, they know Duke pitches around the plate. That’s how you have success on offense, you do feed off each other.”

Davis’ homer to start the seventh was the first of four straight hits off Duchscherer, and Michael Young’s RBI single chased the right-hander. Duchscherer (10-7) is winless in three starts since the All-Star break and lost for only the second time in 10 starts at home. He allowed season highs of nine hits and eight earned runs after not yielding more than three earned runs all year.

“That’s pretty cool,” Hamilton said of the Rangers’ output against a pitcher who led the majors in ERA coming in at 1.87. “We started off slow. If the top of the lineup don’t do it, the bottom will. We started off and the energy fed from there.”

Emil Brown and Mark Ellis each hit a solo homer, Bobby Crosby had an RBI single and Wes Bankston added a sacrifice fly for the A’s, who lost their third straight and ninth in 10 games.

“That’s not a positive outing. I gave up eight runs and didn’t give my team a chance to win, so I feel like I’m better than that,” Duchscherer said. “It’s been great so far because I haven’t had a game like that until now. My whole goal when I’m not getting the job done is to minimize damage. Honestly, the stretch I’ve been on is one of those things where you try to ride it out as long as you can because I’m human. I’m not a robot. I don’t hit every spot I throw and there’s days I’m going to go out there and they’re going to be on me—and today was one of those days.”

Texas designated hitter Milton Bradley was ejected in the third for arguing a called third strike that ended the Rangers’ half.

Matt Harrison (2-1) went five innings for the win and Josh Rupe pitched three scoreless innings of relief. Warner Madrigal allowed Ellis’ homer to start the ninth.

Harrison found himself in a jam right away, allowing consecutive one-out walks to Carlos Gonzalez and Kurt Suzuki in the first before pitching coach Mark Connor paid him a mound visit during Brown’s at-bat. Harrison got Brown to fly out and then escaped unscathed when Crosby popped up to first.

The Rangers are 8-3 against the A’s this year and moved into second place in the AL West with Friday night’s 14-6 victory.

“They had to pick their poison today,” Byrd said. “We showed patience and we capitalized on his mistakes.”

The A’s scored a pair of unearned runs in the third to pull to 3-2. After one-out singles by Gonzalez and Suzuki, Brown reached on Young’s fielding error at shortstop. Crosby followed with his run-scoring single and then Bankston hit a sacrifice fly.


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