Tip pays off for Josh Hamilton

OAKLAND, Calif. -- After Josh Hamilton struck out in his first two at-bats Tuesday night, hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh gave his star pupil a little tip. Coolbaugh said Hamilton was getting going a little too early at the plate. He needed to slow down.

Although Hamilton still struck out in his next at-bat, the tip clicked after that. Hamilton hit an opposite-field homer in the eighth and a rocket to right field for a sacrifice fly in the ninth.

After the Rangers’ 6-1 victory over the A’s, Hamilton said it’s not uncommon for him to have to slow himself down at the plate.

“It’s something I have to watch from time to time, even when I’m doing well,” he said. “I might get a couple hits and then next at-bat start too early. It’s just a visual thing. I have to focus on doing it every at-bat, every pitch.”

Hamilton said it helped that he was facing a lefty, Jordan Norberto, who he expected to throw a slider.

“I was looking slider,” Hamilton said, “and it slowed me down enough to make a good swing on the fastball, not pull off it and stay through.”

Hamilton’s 28th homer got his average back to .300 after the third-inning strikeout had dropped it below that threshold for the first time since he was 0-for-1 on opening day. His average had been plummeting with a .220 slump over his previous 46 games.

Hamilton insisted he didn’t notice the batting average on the scoreboard.

“I haven’t paid attention,” he said. “I know it’s going down the last month, month and a half. I know it’s going to end up where I’m supposed to end up. I will get hot here a couple times. I’m not really panicking.”