Trusting sluggers lead to six-homer day

Sluggers lead to six-homer day

ARLINGTON -- In Michael Young's words, the Rangers have been feeding off of each other for weeks now.

And they only seem to be getting hungrier.

The Rangers hit six home runs in Friday's 16-8 victory over Houston, two of them by Josh Hamilton. Young, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Chris Shelton and David Murphy also went deep as the Rangers hit at least six home runs for the 13th time in club history.

The Rangers hit three home runs off two different pitchers. They hit three home runs in a six-run bottom of the eighth that leveled an Astros team that has already won three games this season when trailing after eight, and which had won 18 of its last 24 games.

"I totally believe hitting is contagious," said Murphy, who had his fifth home run of the season. "A few guys have a few good at-bats, and it just snowballs."

Hamilton was the big story, hitting home runs in consecutive innings, a solo shot in the third and a three-run blast in the fourth. Hamilton has three home runs on this homestand.

"I'm just awed by him every single night," Shelton said.

Saltalamacchia hit his first home run of the season, also in the fourth, his leading off the inning. It might have been the most important home run of the night for the young player who had 11 homers last year.

Three of the Rangers' first seven batters hitting in the eighth went deep, as everyone in the lineup fed off each other's momentum. Murphy started the inning with a home run to right-center field. It was a sweet home run for Murphy, who went to Klein High School outside of Houston.

"It was fun to hit one against the team I grew up loving and admiring," said Murphy, who counted Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell and Ken Caminiti as his favorite Astros growing up.

Shelton's homer was also a meaningful one. Arlington's Hunter Pence robbed him in the sixth on a deep fly ball to right field that would have cleared the bases. Shelton rebounded in the eighth with an opposite-field home run.

"The first one, I just went up there trying to put the ball in play and Hunter made a great catch," Shelton said. "It was nice to get one [after that]. For the most part we hit the ball well that inning."

Young's never-in-doubt solo shot to left gave the Rangers a 16-8 lead, and actually gave Hamilton one last shot at the cycle.

It was a fitting moment, even if Hamilton walked.

"It was one of those odd innings," Young said. "We trust each other. That's why we've been playing good baseball."

Todd Wills is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.