The Rangers hope Hamilton can continue his outstanding production when they close their series against the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday afternoon after splitting the first two games.
Hamilton had three hits and drove in three runs in Texas’s 6-4 win over the Mariners (54-84) on Tuesday night, increasing his major league-leading RBI total to 121.
Hamilton’s rise to star status following his recovery from substance abuse issues has been one of the best stories of the season - and certainly the highlight of year for Texas (68-72), which hopes to avoid its fourth straight losing season.
“(Hamilton) is an RBI machine who continues to do what he’s done all year no matter what you throw at him,” Mariners manager Jim Riggleman said.
The Rangers has won two of three overall after losing three straight. Tuesday’s win was only their third in the last 13 home games.
“You want to try and win as many games as possible, and you want to see good signs from everybody,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “Everybody is still showing up and giving a good effort, and tonight we were able to shut down a ballgame the way we were supposed to.”
Seattle, which had won a season-high four straight and seven of eight before Tuesday’s loss, was limited to eights hits after pounding out 20 in Monday’s 12-6 win.
The Mariners will hand the ball to Felix Hernandez (9-8, 3.27 ERA), who looks to win his third straight start. Hernandez allowed two runs and six hits in six innings of a 3-2 win over Cleveland on Friday.
The right-hander is 4-6 with a 4.24 ERA in 14 starts against the Rangers, including 0-2 with a 3.38 ERA in four outings this season.
On Friday against the Los Angeles Angels, the right-hander allowed three runs and five hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 3-1 loss.
Nippert made a 4 1-3-inning relief appearance in his only outing against the Mariners on July 31, giving up two runs and six hits in the 8-5 loss.
The Rangers announced Tuesday that catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia will miss the remainder of the season with a strained muscle in his right forearm. Gerald Laird will share time with Taylor Teagarden, who was the backup catcher on the 2008 US Olympic team.
Laird, who is hitting .284 with six homers and 39 RBIs in 79 games, was clearly unhappy.
“They’ve got to make a decision, either this September or in the offseason,” he said. “I’m kind of tired of dealing with this stuff. They’ve either got to get rid of me or get rid of one of them. … I feel like this is my last month as a Ranger. I love it here, but I want a chance to play every day.”