Josh Hamilton was watching from the bench for the first time since rejoining the Texas Rangers.
Then with one swing, he won the game that gave the Rangers their first series victory at home this season — in the 2010 AL MVP’s first home series for Texas since 2012.
“It feels like old times,” Hamilton said. “It really does. It’s a lot of fun. Coming back home and having some good games against Boston and then having a game like today reminds you of some good times for the Rangers.”
Hamilton had a pinch-hit, two-run double with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning Sunday for a 4-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox, lining a 1-1 splitter off Koji Uehara into the left-center gap. It was the third pinch-hit, walk-off double of the season — the other two belonging to the Cincinnati Reds — but the first for the Rangers since Sept. 8, 1991, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Hamilton was pinch hitting for Adam Rosales, who had earlier replaced Adrian Beltre after the third baseman sprained and cut his left thumb sliding in the fifth inning. Beltre is out at least two weeks.
Hanser Alberto, the rookie in his third major league game, led off the ninth reaching on third baseman Pablo Sandoval’s second fielding error. Delino DeShields then hit a sacrifice bunt and Shin-Soo Choo grounded out.
AL batting leader Prince Fielder was intentionally walked — and scored the game-winning run from first with a belly flop into the plate.
Rangers manager Jeff Banister, watching the game on television in his office after being ejected in the top of the ninth, heard the roar of the crowd before seeing the slightly delayed video.
“I knew that we at least tied it, and got to watch the big man go across home plate,” Banister said.
Hamilton, who had started his first six games since rejoining the Rangers on the road last Monday and homered twice Friday night, had his eighth career walk-off hit.
It was his sixth game winner for Texas, and first since May 26, 2012. That was in the last of his five consecutive All-Star seasons with the Rangers, including their only two World Series appearances, before leaving in free agency to the Angels. Los Angeles traded him back to its AL West rival on April 27.
At 26-25, the Rangers moved over .500 for the first time in nearly a year — since being 31-30 last June 6. They won three in a row over the Red Sox after losing the series opener.
Boston has lost six of its past seven games.
Uehara (2-2), a former teammate of Hamilton’s in Texas, thought he threw a good pitch.
“I put extra pressure on myself to get out of that inning,” Uehara said through an interpreter, referring to the error. “I wanted to have my teammates’ back. I wasn’t able to. It was my responsibility.”
Ross Ohlendorf (1-0), the fifth Texas pitcher, threw a scoreless ninth when the Red Sox left a runner stranded at third base.
Beltre drove in the first two Texas runs, twice tying the game, before getting hurt. He led off the fifth with his second single of the game before being retired on a fielder’s choice, when his left hand was dragging along the ground when he slid feet-first into the base.
X-rays were negative and Beltre was diagnosed with a sprained thumb after being examined by team physician Dr. Keith Meister. Beltre, who was being fitted for a splint, also needed four stitches for a cut sustained on the play.
The Rangers manager was ejected in the top of the ninth after umpire Todd Tichenor ruled Rusney Castillo had been shoved off second base by shortstop Elvis Andrus on a stolen base. Banister went out to discuss the non-reviewable play, and the conversation got heated. Replays showed that Castillo’s momentum took him past the base as Andrus reached back to apply a tag. Castillo got stranded at third.
Red Sox: RHP Justin Masterson (right shoulder tendinitis) allowed three runs and two hits with three walks, two strikeouts and two wild pitches in a rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket at home vs. Louisville.
Rangers: LHP Matt Harrison threw a bullpen session in Arlington on Sunday. He is set to make a rehab start for Triple-A Round Rock at Reno on Wednesday, exactly one year after his spinal fusion surgery.
Red Sox: Boston is home Monday to start a four-game series against Minnesota.
Rangers: After only one day off the entire month of May, the Rangers start the month of June with a day off Monday, then host the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday.
RED SOX’S OFFENSE
Boston led 3-2 in the sixth when Xander Bogaerts had an RBI single off Rangers starter Wandy Rodriguez. Hanley Ramirez had an RBI single in the first, and Sandoval singled in the second and scored on third baseman Beltre’s two-out fielding error.
SOURCE: The Associated Press