Hamilton grand slam lifts Rangers, floors some fans
ARLINGTON -- Maybe next time CC Carpet & Flooring Design will shoot a little lower with its Grand Slam Payout. Maybe their insurance company will demand it.
In theory, selecting Josh Hamilton was probably a good way to drum up some business. He hadn't hit a grand slam since 2008, but had hit plenty of homers to lure in customers.
Hamilton, though, still has a few months on his reign as American League MVP, and he hits in the middle of a Texas Rangers lineup that has produced some of the best offensive numbers in the game.
He was due.
Hamilton hit a grand slam to cap an eight-run fourth inning Wednesday, and Derek Holland allowed one run in seven innings as the Rangers walloped Cleveland for a second straight game, this time 9-1.
Free flooring and countertops for everybody.
"CC Carpeting," Hamilton said. "The situation doesn't come that often, so when it does you can't help but think about it. I'm in the business of giving back. It's cool."
The victory allowed the Rangers to maintain a three-game lead over the Angels in the AL West entering the series finale tonight against the Indians. The Angels are idle today, ahead of seven straight road games against Baltimore and Toronto.
The grand slam, Hamilton's first since May 27, 2008, at Tampa Bay, provides a refund for CC Carpet customers who had purchased flooring or countertops since Aug. 29.
Owner Steve Fitzgerald didn't know the exact number of customers who will be getting money returned to them, but he estimated that the promotion had created more than $500,000 in sales.
"I'm excited. I'm great," said Fitzgerald, who had secured an insurance policy before offering the promotion. "I wish he could have waited until the last game of the season so more people could have gotten it."
The Rangers finally punched through against David Huff in the fourth after seeing left fielder Shelley Duncan make leaping catches on three straight batters at the wall in the first and second innings.
Hamilton, though, started the fourth with a walk and scored as Michael Young followed with a double. Mike Napoli hit a two-run homer two batters later, and Huff looked to be out of the inning when Ian Kinsler sent a grounder to third.
Lonnie Chisenhall, though, muffed the play to load the bases, Elvis Andrus followed with an infield single, and Hamilton delivered an opposite-field drive just over the left-field wall for an 8-0 lead.
Duncan jumped, but somehow was unable to scale the 14-foot wall. Hamilton initially just assumed that Duncan would make another great catch.
"Why wouldn't I?" Hamilton said.
Said Young, who was robbed by Duncan to start the second: "I've never seen that before. Three almost identical plays in a row. But great plays. You've got to give credit where credit is due."
Holland, who leads baseball in average run support, improved to 14-5 behind a seventh straight game for the offense with at least 12 hits. He tossed four scoreless innings to open his 30th start of the year before surrendering a solo homer to start the fifth after the Rangers' big inning.
"The big thing is I can't think like that when I go out there, like, oh they're going to get me 20 runs," said Holland, who threw 107 pitches.
"I've got to go out there and pitch no matter what. I can't sit there and worry how many runs they're going to score, I've got to make sure I shut down the other team and keep the momentum on our side."
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760