ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — It seemed like old times for Josh Hamilton and the Texas Rangers on Friday night.
Hamilton homered in his first two at-bats, his first homers since he belatedly began his major league season this week back with Texas, helping the Rangers beat the Boston Red Sox 7-4.
Hamilton pulled both homers into the seats in right field off knuckleballer Steven Wright (2-2). The homers came in the second and fourth innings, on pitches measured at 74 and 66 mph.
Hamilton, who starred for Texas from 2008-12 but struggled the last two season with the Los Angeles Angels, said the home runs gave him a sense of relief but no feeling of “I told you so.”
“OK, I can still hit it out of the park,” he said. “I think I can be the player I used to be. It’s been fun the last two days.”
Rangers right-hander Yovani Gallardo (5-6) limited the Red Sox to one earned run and four hits through six innings. Shawn Tolleson, who became Texas’ primary closer last week, recorded his sixth consecutive save.
Prince Fielder went 2 for 4 to raise his American League-leading batting average to .364.
It was Hamilton’s ninth career multi-homer game. He was activated Monday with the Rangers in Cleveland and went hitless in his first nine at-bats. Since then, he is 5 for 12 with two multi-hit games.
Rangers manager Jeff Banister said Hamilton is one of the few hitters whose hands are quick enough to allow him to wait extremely late on a pitch.
“He didn’t try to do too much,” Banister said. “He let the ball travel, let it get deep and put the best swing he could on it.”
Wright, making his third consecutive start in place of the injured Justin Masterson, lamented his placement on the two deliveries.
“Both of the pitches to Hamilton were up where he likes it and moving to the middle of the plate,” he said.
Rangers SS Hanser Alberto, making his major league debut coming up from Triple-A Round Rock, recorded his first hit, RBI and run in the seventh inning. And, on the first pitch of the game, he cleanly fielded a grounder up the middle hit by Dustin Pedroia. “We’re always ready for that,” Alberto said. “Be ready, pitch by pitch, like in the minor leagues.”
RHP Alex “Chi Chi” Gonzalez will make his major league debut starting Saturday against Boston. Gonzalez, the first of Texas’ two first-round draftees in 2013 (23rd overall), was the organization’s minor league pitcher of the year last season and was 3-5 with a 4.15 ERA this season for Round Rock.
Red Sox: SS Xander Bogaerts returned to the lineup after leaving Thursday’s game in the second inning after being hit by a pitch on his left wrist. He went 0 for 3 and had a sacrifice fly.
Rangers: LHP Ross Detwiler (left shoulder inflammation) is scheduled to pitch two rehab innings Saturday for Double-A Frisco. After going 0-5 in seven starts, Detwiler will move to the bullpen when he comes off the DL next week.
Boston: LHP Wade Miley (4-4) is on a three-game winning streak after allowing only one run in eight innings last Sunday at home against the Angels. Miley did lose a milking contest before Friday’s game to Texas RHP Ross Ohlendorf.
Rangers: At 1-1 in this series with two games to play, Texas still seeks its first home series win of the season in its seventh attempt.
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