BALTIMORE — There are few times when a visiting player comes to Camden Yards and puts on such a spectacular show that he turns the fans in his favor.
But Texas slugger Josh Hamilton, the former No. 1 overall pick who overcame the depths of drug and alcohol abuse to become one of the game’s top sluggers, orchestrated one of the most magnificent power displays in baseball history in the Rangers’ 10-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles Tuesday night.
He gained a share of fans along the way. When Hamilton rounded the bases in the eighth inning — becoming the 16th player in major league history to hit four home runs in one game — those who remained of the 11,263 on hand offered their appreciation by giving him a standing ovation. The crowd gave another ovation when Hamilton took his spot in center field for the bottom of the eighth.
“When I came out after the fourth one, the crowd and appreciation let’s you know that they are true baseball fans,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton finished with an American League-record 18 total bases — he added a fifth-inning double — which was one shy of the major league record set by the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Shawn Green on May 23, 2002.
It was the first time in the 20-year history of Camden Yards that a player has hit four homers and the second time it has happened against the Orioles. Cleveland’s Rocky Colavito hit four against Baltimore on June 10, 1959. The last time a player hit four home runs in one game was Sept. 25, 2003, when Toronto’s Carlos Delgado accomplished the feat against Tampa Bay.
All four of Hamilton’s homers were two-run shots, three to straight-away center field. His eight RBI were a career high, and his five extra-base hits set a club record.
“We witnessed tonight,” Rangers Manager Ron Washington said simply.
Two of Hamilton’s homers came off Jake Arrieta, who allowed six earned runs on nine hits over 61 / 3 innings.
After walking shortstop Elvis Andrus in the first inning, Arrieta hung a first-pitch curveball to Hamilton, who sent it far over the center field fence. After Andrus reached on a bunt single in the third, Hamilton took a high 2-0 fastball over the outer part of the plate the opposite way to left field to put the Rangers up, 4-0.
Hamilton homered off left-hander Zach Phillips in the seventh inning, taking a change-up to center field. In the eighth, he took right-hander Darren O’Day deep to complete the feat.