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Rangers' Killer B's get it done against Tribe

6/11/2013
They were pretending to sleep, but Lance Berkman's two-run home run in the seventh was really a wake-up call for the Rangers. Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Killer B's rallied the Rangers to a 6-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Monday night.

OK, not the Houston B's -- Biggio, Berkman, Bagwell.

These are the Rangers' B's -- Baker, Berkman, Beltre.

See a connection?

It's not the same, and the Houston B's of Craig Biggio, Lance Berkman and Jeff Bagwell were legendary and together forever. But for this June night at Rangers Ballpark, it was a big night to be a "B" on the Rangers.

Start with Berkman, the one crossover between the B's, who lifted the Rangers to victory with his two-run home run to snap a 3-3 tie with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. It was timely, mainly because with runners at first and third and no outs and Berkman on deck, the Rangers made two outs: one on a groundout by David Murphy and another during the play on an out at third base by Jurickson Profar.

It was one of those downer moments where it looked like poor Rangers' baserunning had blown a golden opportunity to take the lead, even with Elvis Andrus still at second base and in scoring position with two outs.

And that's because Berkman had been ice cold, with three hits in his past 28 at-bats going into his at-bat in the seventh. But out of thin air arrived the Berkman of the Houston Killer B's. Berkman did what he did so many times for the Astros, taking a 1-0 fastball and destroying it, a no-doubter shot to left field for a 5-3 lead.

Berkman wasn't looking for career home run No. 365, his first since May 14. He was just looking to drive in a run, and brought home his first RBIs since May 24.

"The way things have been going, I wasn't looking for a home run right there," Berkman said. "It's always a relief when the good feeling comes. Especially when it's something that helps your team win."

Berkman's game-winning home run was set up by another "B": Jeff Baker, who cranked a two-run home run in the fourth inning to tie the game at 3-3. It was Baker's ninth homer in 77 at-bats and his major league-leading eighth against a left-handed pitcher.

Baker isn't into statistics, like the one that has him hitting a home run basically every other game. Or this: He's one of the best utility men in baseball (and playing pretty much every day because of injuries).

"I'm all about staying within myself and preparing right," Baker said. "Results are good reinforcement for what you're doing."

The last B, Adrian Beltre, had his 14-game hitting streak snapped Monday night. He did walk in the seventh inning and came around to score on Nelson Cruz's double to center field.

Beltre, who still doesn't appear to be 100 percent healed from a strained left hamstring that forced him out of two games last week -- it's clear when he runs -- continues to play, providing an example for his younger and older teammates.

He's helping to will the Rangers to tough victories like the one Monday night that put them one game ahead of Oakland in the American League West.

"Our mental toughness is being challenged and we're going to win the battle," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "You can believe that."

He went on the say Beltre is the main guy behind that fight. A pretty good Killer B, you might say.