Tony Gutierrez, Associated Press
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The Toronto Blue Jays went from a potential victory to a crushing loss with one swing of Josh Hamilton's bat.
Hamilton hit a two-run homer in the 13th inning as the Texas Rangers rallied to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 8-7 Saturday.
Toronto had taken a 7-5 lead in the top of the inning, but reliever Justin Frasor couldn't hold on to it.
"It happened so fast," Frasor said. "It was just walk-hit-homer and it was over."
Frasor (0-1), Toronto's seventh pitcher, threw a splitter up in the strike zone on a 1-2 count for Hamilton's league-leading 20th home run of the year. Hamilton's game-ending homer, the third of his career, came while he was fighting an upper respiratory infection. Hamilton had to get IV fluids and oxygen after the game, and he used ammonia towels and fluids during the game to fend off the effects of the 91 degree heat. The mid-day game lasted 4 hours, 38 minutes.
"No matter if he's sick or hurt, every time he plays, he's a hard out," Andrus said. "I don' think he has to be 100 percent to hit a homer — I do. I have to be 100 percent to hit a home run. But he could hit it with one arm and would still be able to hit it out."
When Ian Kinsler walked to start the inning, it was the fifth-straight inning that the Rangers got their leadoff batter on base. The Rangers left a runner stranded at third base in the seventh, ninth, 10th and 11th innings, and before Hamilton's hit, Texas was 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position.
"That was huge," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We certainly needed it. We didn't deserve to lose that ballgame, because we put ourselves in position quite a few times. Josh wasn't the only one out there on fumes, everybody was out there on fumes."
In the top of the 13th, Omar Vizquel hit an RBI single for Toronto and later scored after Nelson Cruz misplayed a flyball by Yunel Escobar with two outs. Vizquel went 3 for 6 with his first two RBI's of the season.
Yoshinori Tateyama (1-0), the seventh Rangers pitcher, got one out for the win.
Texas relievers Mike Adams, Joe Nathan, Koji Uehara and Robbie Ross combined to retire 14 in a row starting with the final out of the seventh until Ross walked Colby Rasmus with one out in the 12th.
The Rangers got out of that inning even after Rasmus made it to third on Edwin Encarnacion's single with two outs when J.P. Arencibia grounded out to Ross. Then in the 13th, Ross gave up a single to Brett Lawrie with one out, leading the way for Vizquel's RBI.
"You have very good offensive clubs on both sides, so we both knew we had to be sharp," Nathan said. "We were able to be very effective and efficient throughout that 14-straight, so it really wasn't in flux until the end there. We kind of joked and said to our offense that if they needed some drama, we would have given up a run earlier. I would have given up one in the ninth if they needed that motivation."
Kinsler led off the game with a double, and Andrus followed with a fielder's choice that Kinsler beat out at third base. Hamilton grounded out to score Kinsler for a quick 1-0 lead for Texas, then Andrus scored on Adrian Beltre's sacrifice fly.
Texas' 2-0 lead held up until the fifth when Rasmus homered off the right field pole to tie it.
David Cooper had an RBI single in the sixth and Texas starter Colby Lewis deflected Vizquel's bunt toward first base for a run-scoring hit to make it 4-2.
Lewis left after 5 1-3 innings having given up 10 hits.
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