Josh Hamilton hears boos in Rangers' loss

Posted Friday, Jul. 27, 2012  comments  Print Reprints
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ARLINGTON -- Some boo-birds have nested at Rangers Ballpark, and the primary target those displeased fans dumped on Friday night was Josh Hamilton.

Four-plus years of wild applause and unbridled love for one of the most talented players in the game has been worn away for some by a July that continues to get worse for Hamilton, who started the season playing at an MVP level.

His performance in the opener of a three-game series against Chicago ultimately was a mixed bag. He drove in two runs, but went 0 for 4 and looked shaky defensively as the White Sox rallied for a 9-5 win.

Yu Darvish (11-7) lost for the first time in his professional career, spanning 60 decisions, when his team had scored at least four runs. He allowed all six, though one was unearned and another scored after Hamilton misplayed a flyball in the first.

He acknowledged afterward that he heard the boos, mostly after he struck out in the third and fifth innings.

"I noticed, but it's all about what have you done for me lately no matter who you are," said Hamilton, who is hitting .145 (10 for 69) this month.

"There are still more fans who are still cheering and encouraging me than the ones who are booing. I'll pray for the ones that are [booing], and I appreciate the support of the other ones."

The loss reduced the Rangers' lead in the American League West to 4 1/2 games over Oakland and threatened to drop it to four over Anaheim as the Angels played a late game.

The Rangers learned just before first pitch that the Angels had landed coveted trade target Zack Greinke.

But their biggest problem this weekend is the White Sox, who jumped ahead with a run in the first, though Darvish should have worked a scoreless inning. But Hamilton misplayed a popup by Adam Dunn, and it fell for a one-out single.

Alex Rios delivered a sacrifice fly two batters later on what should have been the third out.

"I couldn't see the ball until it reached its highest point," Hamilton said. "Maybe I could have got there with a slide, but I chose not to slide."

But Hamilton quickly delivered a sacrifice fly of his own in the bottom half, and Nelson Cruz followed three batters later with a three-run homer off All-Star left-hander Chris Sale to stake the Rangers to a 4-1 lead.

Darvish, though, couldn't hold it. Kevin Youkilis hit a two-out, two-run homer on an 0-2 fastball to bring Chicago within 4-3.

"The team going out and giving me a lead, two outs, two strikes and giving up that home run, that's something that was very unfortunate," Darvish said. "That was a very big part of the game, big unfortunate event in the game."

The White Sox tacked on two runs in the fourth to surge into the lead.

Fans weren't happy with the effort Hamilton gave on a Gordon Beckham liner into the left-center gap that he stretched into a double ahead of Hamilton's throw.

In the fifth, he struck out to a chorus of boos for the second out after the first two Rangers had reached first and second.

"He certainly didn't play his best tonight on the defensive end," manager Ron Washington said. "I wouldn't say what's going on at the plate had anything to do with it. I hope he doesn't get frustrated because there's still a lot of baseball to be played."

Darvish pitched into the seventh, but would be tagged for an unearned run after Alexi Ogando replaced him. Hamilton would trim the 6-4 deficit by one with a bases-loaded grounder.

The White Sox put it out of reach with three two-out runs in the ninth.

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST

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