ARLINGTON, TEXAS – Josh Hamilton snapped out of his extended power drought with two home runs and Brandon McCarthy pitched into the seventh inning of his first start in nearly three months, leading the Texas Rangers past the Toronto Blue Jays 5-2 Tuesday night for a doubleheader sweep.
Hamilton had gone 23 games and 99 at-bats since his previous homer Aug. 7 until a 435-foot drive over the Rangers’ bullpen in right-center on the first pitch of the fourth. An inning later, Hamilton pulled a two-run shot down the right-field line.
Chris Davis, who had a tie-breaking, two-run single to help the Rangers win the opener by the same 5-2 score, added a solo homer in the nightcap along with an infield single that got David Murphy home from second base.
McCarthy (6-2) was activated from the 60-day disabled list (stress fracture in right shoulder blade) and made his first start since June 4. The right-hander allowed one run and three hits in 6 innings. He was pulled after Lyle Overbay’s RBI double.
Frank Francisco worked the ninth for his second save of the day and 21st in 24 chances.
The Rangers gained a half-game in the AL wild-card race, closing to 31/2 games of Boston – an 8-4 winner at Tampa Bay, which dropped 21/2 games behind Texas and six behind Boston.
Still, it wasn’t all good news for the Rangers.
All-Star third baseman Michael Young left the second game with a strained left hamstring sustained while running out a grounder in the third inning. The Rangers said Young would have an MRI today and be re-evaluated.
Both homers by Hamilton came off rookie left-hander Brian Tallet (5-9), who struck out four and walked four in five innings.
Davis hit a two-out grounder in the fourth to first baseman Overbay, then beat Tallet to the bag for an infield single. Murphy never stopped running to score from second.
Davis’ 17th homer made it 5-0 in the sixth. Hamilton, who has been on the DL twice this season, has 10 homers.
Ian Kinsler hit a leadoff homer in the opener, and the game was tied 1-all with two outs in the fourth when Davis singled home two runs with a grounder that skipped under Overbay’s glove.
Dustin Nippert (5-2) allowed two runs over six innings before hard-throwing rookie Neftali Feliz struck out four in two perfect innings.