Published March 14, 2010
SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Josh Hamilton promised his oldest daughter a home run on her birthday and delivered Sunday afternoon.
Hamilton hit his first home run of the spring, a two-run shot in the bottom of the first inning, in the Texas Rangers' 9-3 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks in a split-squad game.
"I forgot about it until I was rounding the bases, then remembered and was like 'Yeah! Thank you, Lord!'," Hamilton said.
Hamilton had been slowed by a contusion on his left shoulder as the games started but is starting to find a rhythm now that he's returned to the everyday lineup.
"I've been fine-tuning things," Hamilton said. "If it doesn't feel good, then I take it to the cage until it feels good. It felt good today."
Justin Upton went 3 for 4 with his third home run and Rusty Ryal also homered for the Diamondbacks, who won their fourth straight. Upton has driven in 13 runs this spring.
"There may be a dark cloud in the sky but you don't look at it," said Arizona bench coach Kirk Gibson, who managed the split squad. "He's maturing nicely."
Chris Young added an RBI double for Arizona.
Diamondbacks starter Billy Buckner, one of the contenders for the fifth spot in the Arizona rotation, allowed three hits including Hamilton's home run, over four innings with a walk and three strikeouts.
Buckner is the first Diamondbacks pitcher to throw four innings so far.
"I was glad to get that fourth in," Buckner said.
Rangers starter Colby Lewis struggled in his third appearance, allowing six earned runs and six hits in 3 1/3 innings with a walk and four strikeouts. Lewis retired the first three hitters, but allowed seven of his last 14 batters to reach base.
"He got through the first inning but then he got his fastball up," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He's just got to do better next time. When they put up nine runs in five innings, there's no way you're coming back from that."
NOTES: Rangers RHP Warner Madrigal, who has been slowed with tightness in his right forearm, will have an MRI on Monday. ... Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler, who rolled his ankle during Friday morning workouts, will be out at least a week. ... Arizona shortstop Stephen Drew went 2 for 4 to raise his spring average to .450 (9 for 20).