Josh Hamilton plays through groin strain

DETROIT -- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton knows he isn't moving quite as well as he normally would. And he admitted after Game 5 of the AL Championship Series that the soreness in his left groin is more like a strain. But Hamilton can still track balls down in center and run the bases.

"It's good enough, right?" Hamilton said. "I'm able to play through it. It's the playoffs. That's what you have to do."

He keeps the groin wrapped during the game and puts ice on it afterward, managing it the best way he can. He said it's been something he's dealt with off and on for nearly two months.

"I've been able to get through," Hamilton said.

Hamilton's bat seemed to have some more juice in Game 5. He hit a long fly ball to center to score Ian Kinsler on a sacrifice fly in the first, stroked a 99 mph fastball into center off Justin Verlander in the fifth and then crushed double near the base of the wall in center in the ninth off Phil Coke.

"They've been pitching me inside a lot this series and sometimes I can't get to the pitches I want to," Hamilton said. "I did a better job tonight. I choked up and was able to hit Verlander's fastball to center. I hit a straight heater inside from Coke, too."

Hamilton said he'll continue to make adjustments so that he can drive balls better. The 2-for-4 performance Thursday puts his batting average at .315 in this series. He's still looking for his first postseason home run but was able to get two RBIs in Game 5.

"It's the postseason and you play and don't make excuses," Hamilton said.