Hamilton back in lineup, dropped to 5th

Updated: May 19, 2010, 1:25 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Slumping slugger Josh Hamilton was back in the Texas Rangers lineup Tuesday night, batting fifth for the first time this season.

Ian Kinsler was in the No. 3 spot against the Los Angeles Angels again, as he was the night before when manager Ron Washington held Hamilton out of the lineup to give him a break the outfielder didn't necessarily want.

Hamilton went 2-for-4 and scored a run in his return Tuesday as the Rangers beat the Angels 8-7. Kinsler, meanwhile, went 1-for-3 with a two-run home run.

Hamilton went 1 for 13 with nine strikeouts in a three-game weekend series at Toronto, including seven strikeouts in eight at-bats the last two games. He was 11 for 46 (.239) over the past 10 games, even with two three-hit games in that span.

"A couple of broken-bat knocks would be nice," Hamilton said before Tuesday's game. "I'm fine if I have quality at-bats as far as seeing pitches, squaring balls up. If I do that, good things will happen, whether they happen right away or they happen eventually."

The two-time All-Star went into Tuesday night's game hitting .268 with seven home runs and 23 RBIs.

In his first 36 starts this season, Hamilton batted third 35 times and in the cleanup spot the other on a day Vladimir Guerrero got a break from the lineup.

"It's not like they're going to pitch me any different," Hamilton said of moving down two spots.

The new lineup had Kinsler batting third behind Michael Young, followed by Guerrero, Hamilton and Nelson Cruz. That switch puts four consecutive right-handers at the top of the order before Hamilton bats.

"I don't know if it's permanent or not," Washington said. "I thought [Kinsler] looked good there yesterday and I wanted to keep him there. So I put Hamilton between Guerrero and Cruz."

Hamilton hit .385 in 13 games from the No. 5 spot for Texas last season, when he was limited to 89 games because of injuries. That came after his breakout 2008 season, when he hit .304 with 32 homers and an AL-high 130 RBIs in 156 games.

While Hamilton was hitting .314 in 21 night games, he had only a .206 average in 16 day games this season.

"Obviously neither one are very good compared to my standards right now," Hamilton said. "I don't differentiate the two of them because I don't feel like either one is where they need to be."

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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