Josh Hamilton follows through on strategy

NEW YORK -- Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton vowed before the start of the ALCS not to chase breaking balls out of the zone as he often did during the ALDS.

He's followed through brilliantly, with three hits, including two first-inning home runs, and five walks through the first three games. Hamilton took Pettitte deep in his first at-bat that proved to be the winning runs. He nearly hit another out in the sixth, a high drive that initially looked like it would go well beyond the short wall in right field.

"I thought with that swing, no way that ball; in this ballpark in right field, there was no way it was going to hold it," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "He said he caught it off the end [of the bat]."

But, Hamilton's best at-bat of the game, the postseason and perhaps since before he missed most of September with two fractured ribs, was his ninth-inning lead-off appearance against lefty reliever Boone Logan. Hamilton took Logan's sixth-consecutive fastball on the outside part of the plate into the gap the opposite way for a lead-off double, sparking a six-run rally.

Hamilton's impressive game came after he walked four times in Game 2 as he was successful in laying off slower stuff out of the zone. In Game 3, he took what was given to him.

"He’s doing a good job of not chasing pitches," Washington said. "I would imagine you saw in Texas that [Yankees manager] Joe [Girardi] has said he wasn’t going to let him beat him. First inning there -- and it wasn’t a situation where you pitch around somebody right there -- Pettitte said he made a mistake with his cutter in the middle of the plate. Hamilton just didn’t miss it. He’s just not chasing pitches. Maybe they’re trying to get him to go out of the zone and it’s good he’s not. And that gives Vlad [Vladimir Guerrero] more opportunity to see more pitches and pretty soon they’re going to have to choose poison."