Rangers 6, White Sox 1
CHICAGO (AP)—A rare day off helped Josh Hamilton recharge himself after a long week.
Hamilton homered in his first career at-bat at U.S. Cellular Field, hitting a three-run shot, and Hank Blalock added a two-run homer to power the Texas Rangers to a 6-1 win over the Chicago White Sox on Monday night.
After getting a day off Sunday, Hamilton hit his 22nd homer, a 422-foot blast to straightaway center, in the third off Javier Vazquez. He has 24 RBIs in his last 25 games and 98 RBIs through the team’s first 100 games.
“Well, he certainly looked fresh tonight,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “I think his concentration was a lot better. He didn’t chase as many pitches as he was chasing.”
Hamilton starred at Yankee Stadium last Monday night, slugging a record 28 home runs in the first round of the Home Run Derby. This night, he needed just one.
“I would never take a day off,” Hamilton said. “But (Washington) has been in the game long enough to know when his players need a day. The All-Star break kind of wore me out, it really did. I think it was good for me.”
Blalock added his fourth homer in the eighth and Texas (52-48) tied its season-best mark, at four games over .500. The Rangers took two of three from the White Sox before the All-Star break. Chicago (55-43) has lost three straight, a season-worst slump at home.
White Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin led off the bottom of the fourth with his 24th home run, but Chicago missed several opportunities to score, hitting into three double plays against Scott Feldman. They also committed two errors. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen kept his cool after the game, but with the trading deadline approaching, he warned his players to shape up.
“It seems like a couple players aren’t comfortable,” Guillen said. “I’m not going to make it comfortable for anybody. If you don’t do the job, we’ll see what we can do with you.
“My time, my clock, it goes by minutes now. I don’t want to be negative about the ballclub because we’re playing well, we’re still in first place, even if we’re not playing good. But it’s time for people to start stepping up and play better.”
Vazquez (7-8) isn’t one of the players Guillen is targeting. Vazquez struck out 10, tying a season-high, and gave up three runs and walked two in seven innings. He lost his third straight decision, but looked pretty sharp.
“Hopefully I’ll start rolling from now on,” he said. “I felt great.”
Guillen said, “Javy threw the ball unbelievably good. If Vazquez continues to throw the ball good, it will be a great second half for us.”
Feldman (4-3), recalled before the game, won his third straight decision. He replaced Eric Hurley, who was scratched with stiffness behind his left shoulder. He gave up one run on four hits in six innings. He walked three and struck out one, throwing just 85 pitches.
Feldman pitched himself out of several jams. In the second, he gave up a one-out double to Paul Konerko and walked Nick Swisher, but Joe Crede grounded into the White Sox’s first double play. Feldman then got double plays in the fifth and sixth to quelch potential rallies.
“I sort of got into trouble a couple times, but I was able to make a good pitch and get a ground ball,” he said. “I was trying to get ground balls and when you’re doing that you have to have a good defense, and we had a great defense tonight turning those double plays.”
David Murphy doubled with two outs in the eighth on a bloop to center and Blalock took Boone Logan’s first pitch to right for his first home run since April 18 at Boston. Ian Kinsler added a sacrifice fly in the ninth.
“You know the more pitches Hank sees, I think the better he’s going to get,” Washington said. “We all know what Hank is capable of offensively.”
Logan has given up eight earned runs over his last 2 2-3 innings.
“The people out there have to step it up and do it,” Guillen said. “Because they have more talent than what they show, and I don’t see it.”
The White Sox had a moment of silence for writer/historian Jerome Holtzman, who passed away Monday. The former Chicago sportswriter covered baseball for four decades and was inducted into the writers’ wing of the Hall of Fame in 1989. … Lance Armstrong taped a commercial for a cancer charity that Major League Baseball supports before the game. … Feldman won two in a row on June 30 and July 5.