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Hamilton homers, notches 100th RBI

Hamilton homers, notches 100th RBI

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ARLINGTON -- Angels outfielder Torii Hunter watched Josh Hamilton in his second game back and could only shake his head in admiration afterward.

"He's a different breed of cat," Hunter said. "He's a beast. When I have another kid, it's going to be Torii Josh Hamilton Hunter."

It was quite a second game back. Hamilton brought a crowd of 45,893 to their feet in the fifth inning when he blasted a 1-1 pitch from Ervin Santana into the home bullpen in right-center field. It was his 32nd home run of the year and first since Aug. 29, and it was also the go-ahead blow in the Rangers' 6-2 victory over the Angels at the Ballpark in Arlington.

Hamilton added a sacrifice fly and single in five plate appearances, finishing 2-for-4 with three RBIs in his second game back after being sidelined since Sept. 4 because of two small fractures in the right rib cage.

"Same as last night, I felt good at the plate," said Hamilton, who was 0-for-3 on Friday. "I felt good, felt calm. I'm not pushing, trying to get pitches. A couple of times, I felt some things [in my swing], and I can address them tomorrow. But if you're looking for results ... they were there.

"They helped me tremendously by throwing me mostly all fastballs my first five at-bats. Obviously, after I hit the home run, things changed a bit. But I feel good, I'm seeing the ball well. The key is to not try to do too much and keep it 80 percent and not try to do more than that."

Hamilton started the night by hitting into a double play with a grounder to short. In his second at-bat, he lined out hard to center. That left him 0-for-5 in two games when he stepped to the plate in the fifth and hit one out to right-center.

"Everybody talks about the home run, but when he lined out to center in his second at-bat, that's when I knew Josh was to get locked in and see the ball," third baseman Michael Young said. "Yesterday, we wanted to see him feel good and he was. Now, he's having better at-bats. It's really good to see."

Hamilton said he feels good physically except for one small problem.

"It hurts when I swing and miss," Hamilton said. "I'll try not to do that."

He didn't do it very much Saturday night. He had a sacrifice fly with a long fly ball in his fourth plate appearance -- giving him 100 RBIs on the season -- and a hard single to right field in the eighth inning. At that point, the fans were chanting, "M-V-P, M-V-P."

"It sent chills up my spine," Hamilton said. "It was cool to hear. It's nice to have your fans recognize how you've done and appreciate you. I told them in the interview over the loudspeaker how much I appreciate them."

The American League Most Valuable Player Award has yet to be determined. The AL batting championship is settled.

Hamilton, no matter what happens on Sunday, is going to be the third Rangers player in history to win a batting title. Julio Franco won with a club-record .341 average in 1991 and Young led with a .332 mark in 2005.

Hamilton is hitting .360. Detroit's Miguel Cabrera, who is not playing this weekend, was second as of Saturday with a .328 average. Hamilton would have to go 0-for-50 on Sunday to end up hitting .328 for the year.

"Obviously, you start the season with personal goals," Hamilton said. "If things work out and you get them, that's great. So .... that's great. Really, it is, just to think that I'm not just a power hitter or a guy who can drive in runs. But to hit at a high level, it doesn't surprise me, but it's good to see things working that way."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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