ARLINGTON, Texas —
Hamilton, a five-time All-Star with the Rangers who went 0 for 4 in his return Friday, walked in the first inning ahead of Trumbo’s opposite-field home run to right.
First base was open the next two times Pujols came up, so Rangers manager Ron Washington chose to pitch to his former slugger. Hamilton struck out both times on breaking pitches in the dirt. He flied out to left in the sixth and again in the eighth after another intentional walk to Pujols.
“Hamilton is not swinging the bat well, we had some left-handers out there and we just went for the matchup each time,” Washington said. “Each time we didn’t walk (Pujols), you seen what happened.”
In his return to Texas, Hamilton is 0 for 8 with a walk and four strikeouts, and isn’t hitting the ball very hard when he does make contact.
“If I was somewhere else, the same thing would be going on. It’ll get better,” Hamilton said.
Pujols, also playing under the weight of a huge new contract at this time a year ago, didn’t hit his first homer of 2012 until May 6 at Toronto. Odds were pretty good he would go deep at Rangers Ballpark, where he has four multihomer games in his past 15, including a three-homer outburst in Game 3 of the 2011 World Series with St. Louis.
After a slow start last year, Pujols knows what Hamilton is going through.
“We’re only five games into the season. Let the guy settle down,” Pujols said. “Let’s see where we are a month from now. You guys said that last year about me and I proved a lot of people wrong.”
Peter Bourjos greeted Frasor with a home run to start the sixth, and two outs later Pujols fouled off a pair of two-strike pitches before sending a fastball into the seats in left field.
“We know it’s a long season, but you don’t want to wait too long,” Pujols said. “You want to get it going early. This is a big series and we have a tough month.”