Hamilton's walk-off blast pulls out win in 13th

Hamilton's walk-off blast pulls out win in 13th

Hamilton's walk-off blast pulls out win in 13th
ARLINGTON -- Trailing by two going into the bottom of the 13th inning, the Rangers capped off a game-winning rally with a two-run, walk-off home run by Josh Hamilton. Not bad for someone feeling a bit under the weather.

"I don't have any strength left today. I'm completely out of it," said Hamilton. "Every time I exerted myself, I was light-headed and seeing stars."

Hamilton, who left Friday's game with a head cold in the seventh, homered for the second straight game after not going deep in his previous 11. The Rangers also got back-to-back-to-back home runs from Nelson Cruz, Yorvit Torrealba, and Mitch Moreland -- the last three hitters in the lineup -- in the sixth inning. But it was Hamilton's Major League-leading 20th homer that gave the Rangers an 8-7 win over the Blue Jays on Saturday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

"Wow, what a game," said manager Ron Washington. "It was a battle to the end. Both teams kept fighting. We didn't deserve to lose that ballgame because we put ourselves in position [to win] quite a few times. Josh wasn't the only [one] out there on fumes."

Ian Kinsler began the 13th-inning comeback by drawing a walk from Ryota Igarashi. Elvis Andrus, who had bunted three times in his previous six plate appearances, doubled to center, trimming the Blue Jays' lead to 7-6. Then, Hamilton crushed a 1-2 offering from Jason Frasor over the center field wall, giving the Rangers their first walk-off win of the season.

Walk-off homers in the 13th inning and later in Rangers history
Date Opp. Player Inning Situation
7/11/83 MIL Bobby Johnson 15 Tied at 4
4/26/87 BOS Pete O'Brien 13 Tied at 3
6/24/04 SEA Alfonso Soriano 18 Tied at 7
9/10/10 NYY Nelson Cruz 13 Tied at 5
5/26/12 TOR Josh Hamilton 13 Trailing, 7-6

"That's Rangers baseball at its best," Hamilton said. "He threw me a first-pitch heater down the middle at 90 [mph]. He went away the next pitch. I was like, 'I don't think he'll throw me another fastball here.' I believe he threw me a split and left it up down the middle. Thank the Lord I didn't try to pull it."

The Rangers led 2-0 after the first inning, thanks to an RBI groundout by Hamilton and a sac fly by Adrian Beltre. But Colby Rasmus hit a two-run, game-tying home run off Colby Lewis in the fifth inning off the top of the right-field foul pole. The Blue Jays took a 4-2 lead after RBI singles by David Cooper and Omar Vizquel, who bunted his way on.

But the Rangers took the lead right back. Michael Young and David Murphy grounded out softly to the pitcher, Henderson Alvarez. But Cruz, Torrealba, and Moreland -- who combined for nine hits and two home runs on Friday -- each hit home runs over the left-center-field wall in the sixth.

There's really no weakness in this lineup, top to bottom," Moreland said. "Everyone goes up there with a good approach and tries to hit the ball hard. For the most part, that's what we do."

Home-plate umpire Marty Foster ejected Alvarez when Kinsler dodged a 1-2 fastball in the next at-bat.

"I was just trying to get him out," said Alvarez. "I tried to throw a sinker in, which is my pitch, that's how I get people out. It kind of ran a little bit too much."

J.P. Arencibia tied the game at 5 with an RBI single off Alexi Ogando in the seventh, and the game eventually went into extra innings.

Vizquel drove in the go-ahead run for the Blue Jays with a single up the middle in the 13th inning, and scored on an error by Cruz to give Toronto a 7-5 lead before Hamilton's heroics.

"Very disappointing," said Frasor. "It wasn't a well-executed pitch, but that's what makes it hard to sleep tonight. If you made a good pitch and he popped out, maybe you get some rest. But it will be hard to sleep."

Lewis, coming off his win against the Astros last week, allowed 10 hits and four runs over 5 1/3 innings, while striking out six and walking none. The Rangers nearly emptied their bullpen, using six of their seven relievers. They combined to allow just one earned run over 7 2/3 innings, striking out five and walking one -- even retiring 14 straight hitters at one point.

"Everybody had to dig down deep," said Washington. "Koji [Uehara] did a hell of a job. He gave us two innings, that was big right there. Robbie Ross did a great job for us also. They got him at the end and he ran out of gas. We had to try to get as much out of our pitching as we possibly could."

The Rangers, who left 13 men on base, had the go-ahead run on third base with one out in the seventh, ninth, and 11th innings.

With runners at the corners and one out in the seventh, Young and Craig Gentry flew out to right to end the threat -- with Gentry being robbed of an RBI single on a diving catch by Jose Bautista.

The Rangers squandered a similar opportunity in the ninth inning. Casey Janssen hit Kinsler with the first pitch he threw, and a throwing error by left fielder Eric Thames put Kinsler at third base. But Beltre and Young grounded out to short to end the inning.

"We had some opportunities earlier in the game to put it away, and we didn't capitalize," said Young. "It would have been frustrating if we had kept getting 1-2-3 innings. We felt like we were going to push guys across, as long as they were out there."

Hamilton and Beltre also grounded out to end an 11th-inning threat with Kinsler on third with one out.

Christian Corona is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.