Homers help Rangers sweep doubleheader from Blue Jays

Rangers 5-5 Blue Jays 2-2 ARLINGTON, Texas — With two smooth swings, Josh Hamilton snapped out of his extended power drought.

Texas Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler

Rangers 5-5 Blue Jays 2-2

ARLINGTON, Texas — With two smooth swings, Josh Hamilton snapped out of his extended power drought.

Now, the slugger’s re-emergence could be even more important to the Texas Rangers as they chase the AL wild card.

Hamilton homered twice after going 23 games and 99 at-bats without a long ball, leading Texas past the Toronto Blue Jays 5-2 on Tuesday night for a doubleheader sweep tainted by all-star third baseman Michael Young’s injury.

Chris Davis, who had a tiebreaking, two-run single to help the Rangers win the opener by the same 5-2 score, added a solo homer in the nightcap along with an infield single that got David Murphy home from second base.

The Rangers gained a half-game in the wild-card race, moving within 3 1/2 of Boston. The Red Sox won 8-4 at Tampa Bay, which dropped 2 1/2 games behind Texas and six behind Boston.

An MRI is scheduled Wednesday for Young, who strained his left hamstring running out a grounder in the third inning of the nightcap. He immediately knew something was wrong, pulling up just after crossing first base.

“It was a little bit of a shock,” Young said. “At this time of the season, missing one pitch kills me.”

Young is the longest-tenured Rangers player. He’s in his ninth season and has never reached the playoffs with Texas.

The Rangers said Young would be re-evaluated after they receive test results. It was unclear how long he might be out.

“I’m optimistic,” Young said. “I’ll be really aggressive with my treatment and try to get back on the field as quickly as possible. Apart from that, I don’t have too many answers right now.”

Hamilton hadn’t homered since Aug. 7 until a 435-foot drive over the Rangers’ bullpen in right-centre on the first pitch of the fourth. An inning later, Hamilton pulled a two-run shot down the right-field line.

“I certainly hope that it got him locked in,” manager Ron Washington said.

Hamilton had a sense of humour about his drought.

“I was hoping I remembered how to jog around the bases. … There was a sense of relief,” said Hamilton, who has been on the disabled list twice this season and has 10 homers. “I was glad I proved myself, that I’ve still got game pop instead of just batting practice pop.”

Brandon McCarthy (6-2) pitched into the seventh inning in his first start since June 4. The right-hander was activated from the 60-day disabled list (stress fracture in right shoulder blade) and allowed one run and three hits in 6 1-3 innings. He was pulled after Lyle Overbay’s RBI double.

Frank Francisco saved both games, giving him 21 in 24 chances.

“It was a long day, especially when you don’t score runs,” said Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston, whose team won the series opener 18-10. “You score ’em while you can. You can’t split ’em up.”

Both homers by Hamilton came off rookie left-hander Brian Tallet (5-9).

“The second one wasn’t a bad pitch, a fastball in. He just put a great swing on it,” Tallet said.

Davis hit a two-out grounder in the fourth to first baseman Overbay, then beat Tallet to the bag for an infield single. Murphy never stopped running to score from second.

Davis’ 17th homer made it 5-0 in the sixth.

Ian Kinsler hit a leadoff homer in the opener, and the game was tied one-all with two outs in the fourth when Davis singled home two runs with a grounder that skipped under Overbay’s glove.

Dustin Nippert (5-2) allowed two runs over six innings before hard-throwing rookie Neftali Feliz struck out four in two perfect innings.

Three of the punchouts by Feliz were called third strikes with off-speed pitches, the last on Aaron Hill. After a 97 m.p.h. fastball whizzed by Hill’s head, and he fell to the ground getting out of the way, Feliz snapped off a 79 m.p.h. breaking ball to freeze him for strike three.

“It’s unbelievable. I was sitting on the training room table watching it,” Nippert said. “It’s unreal, his stuff. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s a lot of fun to watch.”Feliz has 26 strikeouts and one walk in 11 appearances spanning 19 2-3 innings since being promoted to the majors Aug. 2. The 21-year-old right-hander had a major league-best 0.51 earned-run average in August, and is now at 0.46.

Just Posted

Rural transit service rolled out

2A South Regional Transit will link Innisfail and Penhold with Red Deer

Some Red Deer waste collection schedules change due to holiday season

Tuesday collections will be moved for two weeks

Red Deer ‘champion’ helps hospital by sharing ongoing petition

It’s been about three years since many physicians at Red Deer Regional… Continue reading

Red Deer Airport’s prospects are looking up for 2019

Ultra-low-cost passenger service is on the horizon

Funding down for Red Deer Christmas charities

Food hampers and toys for children going out to those in need

Alberta’s Sundial starts shipping to AGLC this week

Sundial’s Rocky View facility has received the green light from Health Canada… Continue reading

Penny Marshall dead at 75, best known as TV’s Laverne and director of ‘Big,’ ‘A League of Their Own’

Bronx-born Penny Marshall, who found ’70s sitcom success on “Laverne and Shirley”… Continue reading

Chabot scores overtime winner to lift Senators over Predators 4-3

OTTAWA — Thomas Chabot saw an opening and he took it. And… Continue reading

Canadian Marielle Thompson earns World Cup ski cross bronze in season opener

AROSA, Switzerland — Canada’s Marielle Thompson captured bronze at the opening World… Continue reading

Canada doesn’t make Oscars short list for best foreign language film

LOS ANGELES — Canada is no longer in the running for best… Continue reading

Warrant issued for arrest of ‘Schwimmer lookalike’ suspect

LONDON — A British judge has issued an arrest warrant for an… Continue reading

Moneywise: Canadian workers unhappy with pay, want pension plans

Many working Canadians are feeling underpaid and are so worried about their… Continue reading

Brazil police say faith healer has turned himself in

RIO DE JANEIRO — A celebrity faith healer accused of sexually abusing… Continue reading

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

VANCOUVER — Nicola Froese says she has always loved playing sports, but… Continue reading

Most Read