Hamilton hits 4 HRs as Rangers beat Orioles 10-3

Associated Press Modified: May 8, 2012 at 10:31 pm •  Published: May 8, 2012
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Hamilton's record-setting night is the latest accomplishment in a career that almost never was.

He went from first round draft pick in 1999 by Tampa Bay to out of baseball all together because of drug and alcohol addiction.

He recovered and returned to the majors in 2007 with Cincinnati, and was traded to the Texas, where he has become a star — the AL MVP in 2010 — while still battling his addiction. He had a relapse before this season, but is off to a torrid start.

"Understanding that what I'm doing and what God's allowed me to do coming back from everything I went through and allowing me to play the game at the level I play it, it's pretty amazing to think about," Hamilton said.

Adrian Beltre also homered for the Rangers. Coming off a 14-3 win in the series opener, Texas has won two straight for the first time since April 24-25 and are 20-10, their best-ever record after 30 games.

Dating back to last season, Texas has won seven in a row over Baltimore by a combined 70-18 score.

Rangers starter Neftali Feliz (2-1) gave up one run on four hits and had a career-high eight strikeouts. Converted to starter after notching 72 saves over the previous two seasons, Feliz had a 2-0 lead to protect before throwing his first pitch and maintained the advantage — just like when he was closer.

The Orioles entered the series with the best record in the majors after a 5-1 trip through Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park, but they have looked more like a team with 14 straight losing seasons in these two games against the two-time defending AL champions.

Arrieta (2-3) allowed six runs and nine hits in 6 1-3 innings. He yielded a career-high three homers, matching the total he surrendered in his first six starts this season.

His most notable flaw was his inability to keep Hamilton from hitting the ball out of the park.

"It was the first time I've ever seen anything like that. Very special hitter," Arrieta said on Hamilton. "He didn't miss tonight."

J.J. Hardy and Nick Markakis hit consecutive solo homers for Baltimore in the eighth, long after the outcome had been decided.

The Rangers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Andrus drew a one-out walk and Hamilton hit Arrieta's next pitch over the center-field wall.

It was more of the same in the third, and then some. After Andrus reached on a chopper off the plate, Hamilton lined an opposite-field drive into the left-field seats. Beltre followed with this sixth home run, the fourth time in 30 games that Texas has homered in successive at-bats.

Andrus singled in the seventh before Hamilton sent a drive over the center-field wall against Phillips, who was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk before the game.

After that, the only suspense was whether Hamilton would get another at-bat. He did, and made it count.

NOTES: Andrus has reached base in 26 straight games. He is 16 for 33 on the road trip. ... Despite Baltimore's surprising start, the game drew a meager crowd of 11,263. ... Baltimore's Chris Davis singled in the eighth to snap an 0-for-14 skid.