Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton is historically hot.
The 30-year-old impending free agent outfielder hit a two-run homer in the first inning, a two-run homer in the third, a double in the fifth, a two-run homer in the seventh and yet another two-run blast in the eighth as Texas rolled to a 10-3 victory over the Orioles on Tuesday evening at Baltimore’s Camden Yards.
To recap: Hamilton finished the night 5-for-5 with four home runs, a double and eight RBI. He set a new American League record with his 18 total bases and became just the 16th player in major league history to go deep four times in one game.
The former No. 1 overall pick now has five big flies in his last six plate appearances and boasts a stellar .406/.458/.840 batting line on the season. He’s tallied 14 total homers and 36 RBI in just 30 games played.
The Red Sox have clinched the AL East for a third consecutive season, beating the Yankees 11-6 in the Bronx on Thursday night. It’s the third consecutive season in which the Red Sox have won the division, the first time that’s ever been done in club history. In fact, the only other times the Red Sox won the division in back-to-back years were 1903-04 and 1915-16.
AL MVP candidate Mookie Betts went 4-for-5 with a two-run single in the second inning off of Masahiro Tanaka and a three-run homer in the eighth against Aroldis Chapman to put the game out of reach. Jackie Bradley and Brock Holt also hit homers. Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez was on the hook for five runs in 3 2/3 innings, but three of them scored when Heath Hembree inherited a bases-loaded situation, then served up a grand slam to Giancarlo Stanton in the fourth. The rest of the bullpen combined to fire five scoreless innings. Steven Wright had three of them followed by zeroes from Ryan Brasier and Craig Kimbrel.
With the loss, the Yankees’ lead over the Athletics for the first Wild Card slot shrinks to 1.5 games. Meanwhile, the Red Sox will try to clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs. With a 104-49 record, their closest competitor is the 95-57 Astros. With nine games remaining in the regular season for the Red Sox, they would have to lose every game remaining in the regular season and the Astros would have to win their 10 remaining games in order to fail to claim home field advantage.