Hamilton’s hit streak at 21, Rangers beat Astros
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Josh Hamilton extended his hitting streak to 21 games with the second-longest home run ever at Rangers Ballpark along with a couple of defensive highlights and the Texas Rangers beat the Houston Astros 10-1 on Sunday night to win another series.
Hamilton’s two-run homer in the second was a 468-foot drive several rows into the upper deck in right-center field, way above the Rangers bullpen. His 18th homer of the season put Texas ahead to stay against Roy Oswalt (5-10), whom AL West-leading Texas has expressed interest in acquiring.
The Rangers (46-29) are 20-5 in June and matched a franchise record by winning their eighth consecutive series, something they had only done in 1977.
Michael Young also homered for Texas and Matt Treanor had a two-run, two-out single in the fifth to make it 7-1. Treanor’s hit came on Oswalt’s 100th and last pitch of the game after the right-hander had walked the bases loaded.
Tommy Hunter (4-0) allowed one run and five hits over six innings.
Texas has a day off Monday before opening a three-game series on the road against the Los Angeles Angels, who trail the Rangers by 4½ games in the AL West.
The homer by Hamilton was his 47th hit in June, matching the team record for hits in a month shared by Mickey Rivers (August 1980) and Frank Catalanotto (August 2001). Hamilton is hitting .477 (41 of 86) during his hitting streak and has raised his season average to .346, tied for second in the majors.
According to the Rangers, the only longer homer at home was a 480-foot drive by Jose Canseco playing for Texas in 1994, the first year of Rangers Ballpark. Hamilton had a 460-foot homer last season against the Angels.
When the game was still scoreless in the top of the second, Hamilton made a spectacular inning-ending catch in left field. He reached out to grab Chris Johnson’s flyball, lunging to make the catch and then holding on after rolling onto the ground.
Hamilton made a sliding catch on Carlos Lee’s sinking liner in the fourth, then an inning later had an unconventional outfield assist.
When Geoff Blum raced home on Michael Bourn’s single to left in the fifth, Hamilton’s on-target throw hit Blum in the back and ricocheted away from the plate. Hunter was backing up and threw out Jason Castro sliding into third.
Oswalt, whose 142 career victories are only two shy of Joe Niekro’s record with the Astros, has requested a trade from the struggling team for which he has played all 10 of his major league seasons and went to the World Series in 2005.
Texas president and Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan has said his team is interested in the 32-year-old Oswalt, though any such deal is complicated by the Rangers’ unsettled bankruptcy proceedings that have stalled the sale of the team. Not to mention Oswalt’s salary ($15 million this season, $16 million in 2011).
Oswalt, who said Friday a trade to the Rangers would be OK with him, had his worst outing of the season. He gave up eight runs (seven earned) and seven hits (five for extra bases) with four walks, three strikeouts and two wild pitches.
Before Sunday night, Oswalt was 4-1 with a 1.50 ERA in his five road starts. Overall, the Astros have scored fewer than three runs a game for him and three of his losses have come in matchups against two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum.
Notes: Texas finished 14-4 in interleague games. Houston was 3-12. ... The Rangers honored TCU for its College World Series appearance during a pregame ceremony. Included in the group was freshman LHP Matt Purke, who won two games in Omaha. Purke was the 14th overall pick by the Rangers in 2009, but didn’t sign.