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TEX@BOS: Hamilton records five RBIs in win over Sox

BOSTON -- Mike Napoli and Nelson Cruz said they are feeling better at the plate, and that's good news for the Rangers. Josh Hamilton said he still could use some improvement, and that wouldn't be good news for American League pitchers.

Maybe it would mean that Hamilton could match or exceed Ted Williams' legendary home run here at Fenway Park.

Hamilton came close on Tuesday night. Hamilton's 469-foot blast was one of six home runs hit by the Rangers in an 18-3 victory over the Red Sox. The home run, Hamilton's fifth in 11 games, landed about a dozen rows short of a red seat in the right-field bleachers. That seat marks the landing spot of a 502-foot home run that Williams hit off Tigers pitcher Fred Hutchinson on June 9, 1946.

"The ball was carrying pretty good tonight," Hamilton said. "No, it was good. I didn't see it, and so I don't know how far it went, but it felt pretty good. Those are the one you like to hit."

Hamilton was 3-for-5 with a couple of ground-ball singles through the right side, and he tied a career high with five RBIs. He is now hitting .413 after 11 games.

"I'm just finding holes," Hamilton said. "I don't feel great. The home run felt good, the others I just kind of rolled over and found holes. I'm getting there. My timing is still early. I'm getting away with some things. I want to continue to improve."

The Rangers haven't been too worried about Hamilton, but they would like to see Cruz and Napoli get rolling, and both did so on Tuesday night. Napoli hit two home runs and Cruz was 3-for-6 with his second home run of the season.

The Rangers scored four in second and three in the third off Red Sox starter Jon Lester, and both rallies were started by Cruz and Napoli. Cruz came into game hitting .211 while Napoli was at .125, although he did hit his first home run of the season on Sunday in Minnesota.

"I'm getting close," Cruz said. "I feel pretty good. I feel like I'm seeing the ball better and my timing is there."

Napoli and Cruz, sitting in the bottom half of the Rangers' lineup, combined for 59 home runs and 132 RBIs last season.

"I'm definitely feeling better," Napoli said. "I have been in the cage trying to iron it out. It feels good to put some swings into it and barrel up the ball. I just want to do it for a full game."

The Rangers' lineup certainly did that, finishing with 21 hits. Adrian Beltre and Michael Young both hit home runs, and every starting player in the lineup had at least one hit and one run scored. Craig Gentry came into the game hitless in six at-bats and went 3-for-6.

Lester entered the game with a 3-1 record and a 3.47 ERA in eight starts against the Rangers. That ERA went up to 4.47 after allowing seven runs in two-plus innings.

Rangers starter Colby Lewis picked up his second win by shutting down the Red Sox after giving up a two-run home run to Dustin Pedroia in the first. Ryan Sweeney also just missed a two-run home run that inning with a two-out double off the top of the center-field wall. Instead, the Red Sox were left with runners on second and third, and Lewis retired Cody Ross on a slow grounder to the right side to end the inning.

Cruz and Napoli struck back immediately in the top of the second. Cruz smashed a one-out double and Napoli followed by hitting an 0-2 fastball over the left-field wall and completely out of Fenway. The Rangers ended up scoring two more that inning.

"That was awesome," Lewis said. "Seeing the runs they scored for me made it easier. I was able to go out there and pound the strike zone."

Lester's night ended just three batters into the third. Cruz singled and both Napoli and Yorvit Torrealba drew walks to load the bases. Lester was replaced by Scott Atchison, and the Rangers ended up with three more runs that inning.

"I thought Jon had great stuff tonight down and away," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. "They were fouling some tough pitches. Jon just kept battling. It seems like he couldn't get both sides of the plate called and would leave the ball on the plate too much. The only pitch he really wanted back was the 0-2 pitch to Nap there. Always happens before a game when they say a guy's not hot, all of a sudden he gets hot. Coming into the game, he wasn't very hot -- two home runs."

The Rangers led 8-2 after Young's home run in the sixth and then scored eight more in the eighth. Hamilton hit a three-run home run, Beltre followed with one into the center-field seats and Cruz hit a two-run shot that inning. Napoli's second home run came in the ninth off of former Rangers pitcher Vicente Padilla. Comments