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May 26, 2012

Josh Hamilton, dazed by illness, delivers game-winning HR

Josh Hamilton was seeing stars in the fifth inning, after hitting a figurative wall because of the illness that is running its course through his lungs and head. Unfortunately for Jason Frasor and Toronto, the illness hadn't knocked Hamilton out.

Instead, he knocked out the Blue Jays with a two-run homer in the 13th inning as the Rangers rallied from two down in their final at-bat in the 13th inning to beat Toronto 8-7. The homer, which followed an Elvis Andrus RBI double, was Hamilton's baseball-leading 20th of the year to go with an MLB-best 53 RBIs.

Hamilton wasn't immediately available for comment after the game because he needed intravenous fluids and oxygen to help him recover from his long day on the field. When he finally did talk to the media, after also sitting off in a cold tub for his typical aches and pains, he admitted to being nearly out of it on the field.

"I hit a wall in the fifth inning. I was light-headed and seeing those little stars," said Hamilton, who also battled the elements during his game-ending at-bat against Frasor. "It was tough because of the shadows, and it was bright in the outfield. Thank the Lord I didn’t try to pull it. … When I hit it, I felt like I got enough of it to go."

Hamilton said he hit a splitter from Frasor, who had thrown 31 pitches Friday. He had replaced Ryota Igarashi, who started the inning despite logging 41 pitches Friday.

Andrus, whose double to the wall in left-center had scored Ian Kinsler, had no doubt that Hamilton's blast would clear the center-field wall.

"As soon as he hit the ball, I heard people yelling, 'Tag! Tag!' "Andrus said. "But I was like, 'No, that ball is out of here.' I am super glad he plays for us. No matter if he's sick or hurt, every time he plays, he's a hard out. I don't think he has to be 100 percent to hit a homer."

-- Jeff Wilson


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