Hamilton's hitting streak ends at 23 games

Hamilton's hitting streak ends at 23 games

ANAHEIM -- It's hard to blame Rangers left fielder Josh Hamilton if he wishes it was still June.

After all, he led the Majors with a .454 batting average and 31 RBIs during the month and entered Thursday's game against the Angels with a career-best 23-game hitting streak on the line.

But on the first day of the new month, Hamilton saw that hit streak, which was a Major League best, come to an end with an 0-for-3 performance in the Rangers' 2-1 loss to the Angels on Thursday.

Hamilton was retired by Angels right-hander Jered Weaver in his first three at-bats of the night, including two strikeouts, before losing his chance to extend the streak when he was walked intentionally in the eighth inning with runners on second and third with two outs.

The hit streak, which raised his batting average from .291 to .343, also has set himself up for contention for the American League Triple Crown along with teammate Vladimir Guerrero.

After Thursday's loss, Hamilton's .340 batting average ranks fourth the AL, his 18 home runs tied him for fifth with Guerrero and his 58 RBIs ranked third while his .339 batting ranked fifth and his 68 RBIs are tied for the league lead.

But Hamilton said hitting for the Triple Crown, which was last done by the Red Sox's Carl Yastrzemski in 1967, isn't on his mind, although it's always nice to put up good numbers in those categories.

"To any player they would be important," Hamilton said. "I obviously set goals before the season and keep them reasonably high for myself so that if I come up short, I still had a pretty good season. I maybe used to try to hit home runs, but now I'm just trying to get hits and get on base and make something happen."

Manager Ron Washington said he wouldn't be shocked if Hamilton accomplished the rare feat, but that it's still too early in the season to discuss it seriously.

"I think it's a ton of work, but I wouldn't put it past him," Washington said. "But at this point of the season, jeez. He'd still have the ability to do it, but takes a lot of preparation to pull that off."