Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Hamilton helps Holland with huge catch

MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have been wondering how outfielder Josh Hamilton's left knee would hold up on defense, or if he would need a defensive replacement late in the game.

The breathtaking catch he made in the second inning on Thursday night is the best evidence yet that Hamilton can handle himself on defense. It kept the Angels from jumping out to a big lead early on a night when the Rangers came back for a 5-3 victory that clinched a postseason berth for Texas.

View Full Game Coverage

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have been wondering how outfielder Josh Hamilton's left knee would hold up on defense, or if he would need a defensive replacement late in the game.

The breathtaking catch he made in the second inning on Thursday night is the best evidence yet that Hamilton can handle himself on defense. It kept the Angels from jumping out to a big lead early on a night when the Rangers came back for a 5-3 victory that clinched a postseason berth for Texas.

View Full Game Coverage

The game was scoreless into the second inning when Albert Pujols led off with a double against Rangers starter Derek Holland and went to third on a grounder by C.J. Cron. Holland then walked David Freese, putting runners on first and third with one out for Shane Victorino.

Victorino launched a drive to deep left and Hamilton raced back, making an over-the-shoulder catch as he went crashing into the wall. Pujols tagged and went home, but was barely safe after strong relay throws from Hamilton and shortstop Elvis Andrus.

Video: Must C Catch: Hamilton collides with wall after grab

"Big catch, big play in the game," Angels outfielder Mike Trout said. "Freeser was on first. If he missed that and it hits off the wall, maybe he has a chance to score. But it is what it is."

The catch helped Holland hold the Angels to one run that inning instead of a possibly bigger rally.

"It was amazing," Holland said. "Especially after what he was he has gone through, to make that catch. That could have saved a bunch of runs."

Video: LAA@TEX: Holland pitches Rangers into postseason
 
Hamilton said the knee was fine.
 
"I got the ribs pretty good," Hamilton said. "I always try to guard myself by putting my hand out to slow me down but it always backfires on me. But it's good."

This was just Hamilton's third start in left field since undergoing "cleanup" surgery on his left knee Sept. 11. He has been sharing the job lately with Mike Napoli, who started at first base instead on Thursday night.

Interestingly, Hamilton came up with one out in the second and launched a drive deep to left. Victorino, the Angels left fielder, raced back to the ball but just missed making a terrific catch of his own. Hamilton ended up with a double.

"I'm not surprised," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's a good left fielder with a lot of range. He made a lot of catches like that for us and against us. He still moves well. He got to the ball and made a heck of a play."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Texas Rangers, Josh Hamilton