Hamilton returns to lead Rangers to 7-3 win over Padres
Texas Rangers' Nelson Cruz rips a two run double to left field against the San Diego Padres during the sixth inning of an interleague baseball game Tuesday, June 19, 2012 in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Edinson Volquez and Josh Hamilton will be forever intertwined.
The two were the principal players in a 2007 trade that helped shape the Texas Rangers into a perennial AL power. Volquez faced Hamilton for the first time since the deal and saw first-hand why Hamilton is considered one of baseball's biggest talents.
Hamilton's two-run triple helped spark Texas to a 7-3 victory over the San Diego Padres on Tuesday night as he returned to the starting lineup for the first time since Thursday due to an intestinal virus.
Hamilton, who leads the major leagues with 66 RBIs, went 2 for 5 and scored two runs as the Rangers extended their winning streak to five games.
"He's a great hitter," Volquez said about Hamilton. "You can't make a mistake and that's what I did. I got him two strikes twice and then gave him a pitch to hit."
The virus caused Hamilton to lose 10 pounds as he was briefly hospitalized Friday.
Nelson Cruz and Adrian Beltre drove in two runs each for the Rangers, who had 12 hits.
"They have a great team," Volquez said. "Everybody knows what they can do. I was all over the place and you can't make a mistake with these guys. They're great hitters."
Scott Feldman (1-6) broke a six-start losing streak as Texas won for the eighth time in nine games.
Feldman, who had his first career RBI, pitched six innings and allowed two runs and seven hits. The right-hander did not walk a batter and struck out five, including Carlos Quentin three times.
Feldman avoided becoming the Rangers' first pitcher to lose his first seven decisions in 30 years.
Hamilton made his presence felt in the third inning when he tripled in two runs off Volquez and scored on a sacrifice fly as Texas took a 3-1 lead.
Volquez failed to get an out in the sixth inning and he allowed six runs and five hits with six strikeouts and four walks.
Ian Kinsler singled with one out in the third and Elvis Andrus walked before Hamilton hit a ball into the right-center field gap to put the Rangers ahead 2-0. It was Hamilton's first triple of the season.
Hamilton then scored on Beltre's sacrifice fly to medium right field, easily beating the throw from Will Venable.
After Hamilton singled and Beltre doubled to start the sixth, Cruz followed with a two-run double to knock out Volquez.
"We have seen it in spring training," Padres manager Bud Black said about Hamilton. "To see it live in a regular season game, he's an impressive player. He's truly a five-tool player."
Beltre hit his 12th homer in the seventh off Brad Brach when he hit the foul pole in the short right-field porch. The umpires briefly reviewed the replay before ruling the ball a home run.
Feldman, who drove in his first career RBI with a single in the sixth, allowed only Nick Hundley's run-scoring single in second and an RBI groundout by Yonder Alonso in the sixth.
Notes: Hamilton played in the Rangers' 2-1 win on Monday night as a defensive replacement but did not bat. ... Texas 1B Mitch Moreland came out of the game in the second with a left hamstring strain after he grounded into a bases-loaded, inning-ending double play. ... Texas (42-27) is a season-high 15 games over .500. ... Volquez was 3-11 with a 7.20 ERA in 20 games with Texas between 2005-07. ... 1B Brad Hawpe requested and was granted his release from Texas' Double-A affiliate, Frisco. According to a Rangers spokesman, Hawpe said he was taking a roster spot from someone potentially going to the majors. ... Texas RHP Yu Darvish (8-4, 3.57) will face Padres RHP Anthony Bass (2-7, 4.88) in the in the finale of the three-game series on Wednesday.