ST. LOUIS -- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton limped into a postgame news conference at Busch Stadium on Thursday night, his upper left leg encased in ice and covered by a beige bandage.
The injury -- a painful strained groin -- didn't stop Hamilton from knocking in the tying run in the ninth inning of Game 2 of the World Series with a sacrifice fly. The run-producing out also sent Elvis Andrus scampering to third. Andrus scored moments later on Michael Young's sacrifice fly as the Rangers came from behind to defeat the Cardinals, 2-1, evening the best-of-seven Fall Classic at a game apiece.
Hamilton addressed the injury before and after the game, noting afterward that he was tired of dealing with the issue.
"Health-wise, it is what it is," Hamilton said. "I'm tired of talking about it. I'm going to hurt until the season is over. It's a nonissue as far as talking about it. So stop asking me, please."
Texas became the only team in baseball history to win a World Series game in which all of its runs were scored on sacrifice flies. To put that little factoid into context, this is the 107th World Series.
The Rangers are just the third team to rally from a 1-0 deficit in the ninth inning to win a World Series game.
"I don't care how we scored them," said Young, whose big sac fly came off Lance Lynn after the right-hander immediately replaced left-hander Arthur Rhodes. "In that situation, sacrifice flies are what we needed."
The lefty-swinging Hamilton was 0-for-3 in the game before he turned on the first pitch from Rhodes and drilled it to right field. Rhodes had just been brought into the game to replace closer Jason Motte with runners on second and third and no one out. It was Hamilton's eighth RBI of the postseason -- all of them coming without the benefit of a home run -- and it certainly was the biggest.
"He's a tough man," Young said. "We know he's hurting. It's at the point of the season where you're hurt, but you're not. The only point is to go out there and try to help the team win."
It's clear that if this were the regular season, Hamilton might very well be on the disabled list, rather than pushing his body through the injury on a daily basis. Going into Saturday night's Game 3 at Rangers Ballpark, Texas has played 12 postseason games and Hamilton has started all of them.
"During the regular season, we'd have Hamilton undergo an MRI to determine the extent of the injury," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said after the game. "That way, we'd know whether he needed to be placed on the DL or just sit out a few games."
But this is the postseason, and Hamilton has not had an MRI, Daniels acknowledged.
"There's no point," Daniels said. "There's only a week to go in the season anyway. Obviously, he's a tough, tough guy, and what he did for us tonight was a big at-bat."
Hamilton, a recovering alcoholic with a history of drug use, was asked during the news conference whether he was using any pain-killing drugs to make it through the games. It was the second part of a two-part question, and Hamilton eyed the reporter quizzically as he heard it.
"I plead the fifth," Hamilton said.
Before the game, Hamilton said that he knew he had to make some adjustments in his approach at the plate to try to generate some bat speed.
"Obviously, it hurts," Hamilton said. "It is what it is. I can play through it. It's something I have to deal with it. I wouldn't say I'm frustrated. I just have to make adjustments. Just try to put the barrel on the ball and not use my lower half. I can hit line drives with my upper body."
That's exactly what he did as he faced Rhodes in what certainly was, up until now, his most critical at-bat of the postseason. Hamilton had already faced the veteran left-hander with two out and none on in the Rangers' 3-2 loss in Game 1, and he flied out to center.
"The biggest thing in that situation is not to try to do too much," Hamilton said. "Obviously, when I faced him last night, he kept throwing me heaters up, heaters in. [Tonight], I was actually sitting first-pitch slider and just reacted. That's a good thing sometimes, just reacting instead of trying to make it happen."
Rhodes said he didn't put the pitch exactly where it was intended.
"It was up a little bit," he said. "If I would have gotten it down, probably I would have gotten a ground ball or a little pop fly so that run didn't score."
But the run did score, and the hobbled Hamilton accomplished what was necessary.