Rapid Reaction: Rangers 12, Orioles 3
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The night belonged to Adrian Beltre, who belted three home runs in leading the Texas Rangers to a 12-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles. The Rangers seem to save big individual offensive nights for the Orioles. Josh Hamilton had his four-homer game in Baltimore on May 9. Some quick thoughts:
What it means: The Rangers win the series and remain five games ahead of second-place Oakland in the AL West. Texas has won two straight series and five of its past seven after losing three straight at Yankee Stadium early last week.
Beltre hat trick: It was the Adrian Beltre from Game 4 of the 2011 ALDS who showed up Wednesday. Beltre homered in each of his first three at-bats, totaling 1,187 feet as he went to Greene's Hill in center in the second for a solo homer and then to left field and then left-center in the fourth. ... Beltre is just the second Rangers player ever to hit two homers in the same inning. The other: Carl Everett, who turned the trick in the seventh inning on July 26, 2002. ... It's the eighth three-homer game in MLB this season.
Elite company: According to the good folks at ESPN Stats & Info, Adrian Beltre joins Albert Pujols, George Brett, Reggie Jackson and Babe Ruth as only players with three-homer regular-season and postseason games. That is quite impressive.
Beltre passes 20-HR plateau: Beltre hit his 20th home run of the season in the second. He becomes the ninth third baseman in MLB history with 20 or more home runs in at least 10 different seasons. ... Before Wednesday, Beltre had one homer and seven RBIs in his past 29 games.
This slam counts: Mitch Moreland hit his first career grand slam, crushing an 0-1 slider from Hunter into the seats in right field (382 feet). Moreland actually hit a grand slam early last year against Oakland, but it did not count when rain came and washed the game away. ... Moreland added a sacrifice fly in the fifth to give him five RBIs in the game, tying his career high set Aug. 19, 2011, at Chicago.
Crooked number: The Rangers had a big fourth inning -- the first eight batters got on base and all scored. Texas got nine runs total in the inning with four singles, a double, two walks and three homers. Most of that was off Tommy Hunter, who lasted just three innings (plus eight batters) and allowed eight earned runs on eight hits with two walks, three homers and no strikeouts. ... Hunter has now given up 32 home runs on the season, the most in the AL. ... The nine runs scored are the most in a single inning for the Rangers since Sept. 26, 2009, when they scored 11 in the fifth inning against Tampa Bay.
Defense, defense: The Rangers put on a defensive clinic, particularly early in Wednesday's game. Mitch Moreland dove to his right, fully extended, to take a ground-ball hit away from Adam Jones in the first. Moreland gloved it and then tossed to Holland covering the bag. ... Beltre, as usual, showed off the leather. He raced to his left and toward the infield grass to aggressively cut off a bouncer from Matt Wieters and throw him out in the second. Later that inning, Beltre ignored a broken bat flying just to his left and backhanded a sharp ball off the bat of Lew Ford and threw to first. ... Beltre also has an amazing ability to recover from bad hops. Robert Andino hit what appeared to be a routine play, but the bounce was higher than Beltre expected. He was still able to move to it and make the throw to get the out in the third inning.
Hamilton's 11-pitch walk: Lost in the Rangers' runfest was that Josh Hamilton showed patience in the fourth inning. He took an 11-pitch walk, putting him on base when Beltre hit his third homer of the game. It was only the third time in Hamilton's career to have an at-bat of at least 11 pitches. The last one: July 15, 2010, against Boston, when he doubled. The only other one was a 13-pitch at-bat on July 5, 2010, against Cleveland (he struck out).
Holland solid: Also lost in all the hitting craziness was the fact that Derek Holland had a solid night. He was staked the big lead after the fourth but gave the club seven innings and allowed three runs on five hits with five strikeouts and two walks.
Up next: The Minnesota Twins come to town as RHP Roy Oswalt (4-2, 6.04 ERA) fills in for Yu Darvish, who is skipping this start with a tight right quad, and takes on LHP Scott Diamond (10-5, 295 ERA).
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.