If trends set the pace for Josh Hamilton, then forget batting practice. Oh, and Elvis Andrus should get on base 100 percent of the time.
Hamilton drilled four home runs against the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night, tying the all-time major league record. Not only did the Rangers not take batting practice before the contest, but Rangers shortstop Andrus was on base for every Hamilton ball that cleared the fence.
It was Hamilton's fifth multi-homer game, but the first time he's nailed four in a one game. He finished the night with eight RBIs and his 18 total bases (he lined a double in the fifth) not only broke the team record held by Jose Canseco since June 13, 1994, but is a new American League record and is only one shy of the all-time major league record held by Shawn Green.
He is the first Ranger to hit four homers in a game, and his five extra base hits also tied a big league record.
Hamilton spoke to the Baseball Tonight crew after his historic night.
"It's an absolute blessing. After I hit two, knowing I have never hit three in a game, then to hit four… I was just thanking the God above to give me the opportunity…everything I've gone through…to be in a position to do something like that…it was just awesome."
The first pair of Hamilton homers came off sophomore hurler Jake Arrieta in the first and third innings. He added a third jack off Zach Phillips in the seventh, and finished off the night with a fourth bleacher bomb against Darren O'Day in the eighth.
Tuesday night's performance by Hamilton marks the 16th four-home-run game in major league history. It's the first time we've seen such a feat since Carlos Delgado jacked four homers on Sept. 25, 2003 while playing for Toronto in a game against Tampa Bay.
Hamilton received both his third and fourth home run balls from teammate Mike Adams. As for what will he will do with them is another question.
"Ah man, I don't even know. They'll probably end up in a closet somewhere. I don't have anything around the house. They might end up in the back yard with the kids, throwing 'em down the slide or somethin'," said Hamilton.
One thing is for certain, regardless of what he does with his new memorabilia, he sure has picked a good time to swing a hot stick. Hamilton is in a contract year and looking for a new deal. With the way he's been playing so far in 2012, he could set a new career high on his stat sheet, as well as his bank account.
Going back to Monday night, Hamilton hit a two-run homer in his final at-bat, giving him now five home runs in his last six at-bats. He currently leads the AL with 14 homers and 36 RBIs and after Tuesday's 5-for-5 game, now has a batting average of .406. He also has an eight-game hitting streak and is batting .448 with six homers and 17 RBIs in that span.
And dare I say it…but maybe Mr. Pujols should take a few notes on Josh's AL approach. Pujols, also known as "The Machine," has struggled this season, only hitting one home run so far in 2012. Historically, while with the Cardinals for his first 10 seasons, Pujols swung at roughly nine percent of first pitch strikes; an aggressive approach that proved so well for Pujols, he was almost machine-like, putting up inhuman numbers annually. In his struggling '12 campaign, Pujols' percentage has dropped to roughly four percent. Hamilton leads the league in percentage of first-pitch swings overall, sitting at a staggering 56.5 percent going into Tuesday night's contest. When he makes contact, Hamilton is now 10-for-22 (.454) with three homers and eight RBIs.
But putting metrics aside, Hamilton has his own unique mindset in regards to his scorching hot bat and explained to Baseball Tonight that the key is not trying too hard, simply staying relaxed.
"I don't have to create power, I just need to make solid contact. And you know what, it worked. I just gotta put a good swing on it, and it'll go. "
So just remember kids; The perfect storm for a Hamilton homer includes no pre-game B.P, Elvis Andrus on base, and solid contact. No need to add water, shake or stir. Hamilton's bat will take care of the rest.
Photo Credit: AP