Four of a kind: Hamilton 16th in MLB history to hit four homers in game
Hamilton 16th in MLB history to hit four homers in game
05/08/2012 11:41 PM
03/24/2013 1:08 AM
BALTIMORE -- Almost to a man, Josh Hamilton's teammates were certain that if he got another chance Tuesday night, he was going to hit his fourth home run of the game.
He got that chance and proved them right, but that didn't leave the Texas Rangers any less stunned by what they had just seen: the 16th four-homer game in major-league history.
"That's the most incredible individual performance I've ever seen," veteran Michael Young said. "I'm not sure if we'll ever see something like that again."
Hamilton had a record-setting night at Camden Yards during the Rangers' 10-3 victory over Baltimore, crushing four two-run homers and setting an American League record for total bases in one game with 18.
He is the first Rangers player with a four-homer game, and his eight RBIs were a career high. He also went 5-for-5 with a double, and has six extra-base hits in his past six at-bats.
But the potential free agent, per his usual demeanor, didn't bask in the glow of his remarkable achievement. Instead, he reveled in the joy he brought to his teammates by doing something that hadn't been done in the major leagues since 2003.
"Coming around second base and looking in your dugout and seeing how excited your teammates are and then touching home plate and going into a reception like that from them was the best part of it all," Hamilton said.
"These are the guys you go out with every day and battle. It doesn't always work out, but we still give it everything we've got. No matter if it's me or any other guy in the lineup, everyone's going to be there loving on them and congratulating him."
Hamilton swatted his homers against former TCU star Jake Arrieta in the first and third innings; former Rangers farmhand Zach Phillips, a left-hander, in the seventh; and former Rangers reliever Darren O'Day in the eighth.
The first, third and fourth homers were to center field, and the second was an opposite-field shot into the left-field seats.
"Other than being in the World Series, it's the highlight of my big-league career," said Hamilton, who leads the majors in batting average (.406), homers (14) and RBIs (36).
"I'd never hit three in a game before. What a blessing that was, and then to hit four was just an awesome feeling to see how excited my teammates got. It reminds you of when you're in Little League and a little kid. Just the excitement and why we play the game."
The only at-bat in which Hamilton didn't homer was in the fifth inning, when he hit a line drive to right-center field that one-hopped the wall.
Maybe he would have gotten it over the wall, too, if the Rangers hadn't had batting practice rained out.
"It was the first time I've ever seen anything like that," Arrieta said. "Very special hitter. He's the kind of guy who really likes to jump on the first pitch, and we know that as a staff. I think it was just we did him a favor by throwing him too many hittable pitches. He didn't miss tonight."
Adrian Beltre had the unique perspective of hitting one spot behind Hamilton, and hitting one spot ahead of Shawn Green in 2002 when Green hit four homers and set the MLB record for total bases with 19 in a 6-for-6 game.
Green was the last player to accomplish another feat Hamilton reached Tuesday night, having five homers in six at-bats. Hamilton hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning Monday.
"I was in both games, and both guys were unbelievable that day," said Beltre, who followed Hamilton's second homer with a solo shot.
"They were both impressive. Shawn Green got an extra hit. He had six hits. Josh only had five, but he had only five at-bats. I was hoping we could go around and give him a chance again. I have no doubt he probably would have hit another home run."
Elvis Andrus also had a unique perspective of Hamilton's night, scoring ahead of Hamilton on each homer.
The shortstop walked in the first, dropped a bunt for a hit in the third, singled in the seventh, and reached on a fielder's choice in the eighth.
"I'm his good luck charm," Andrus said. "Every time I get on base, he hits a home run. He did that yesterday, too. It's a lot of fun."
Hamilton, who said he had several friends and family members in attendance after making the four-hour drive from his native North Carolina, wasn't planning to do much to celebrate his big game.
He planned on visiting with friends, taking some phone calls and text messages, possibly ordering a pizza, and not sleeping much.
But he might not need too much rest after making a four-homer game look fairly easy.
"After he hit the third one, I knew that if they pitched to him in his fifth at-bat he was going to hit a home run," outfielder David Murphy said. "I've never seen him that focused before. I've seen him locked in before, but his approach was perfect today."
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