Beltre makes sure Rangers hold on


ARLINGTON, Texas -- Adrian Beltre's sacrifice fly in the eighth inning looked ho-hum enough.

A 4-0 Texas Rangers lead over the Minnesota Twins became 5-0, making the add-on run more than likely just a matter of bookkeeping.

"But you learn to never throw an at-bat away," said Beltre, a veteran of 16 major league seasons. His sacrifice fly to center, following singles by Elvis Andrus and Carlos Pena, proved to vital when the Twins scored four in the ninth and put the tying run at third with one out.

The extra run turned out to be the one that snapped Texas' eight-game losing streak. The Rangers held on, 5-4.

"You don't know how the game will end so you have to take the same approach every time," said Beltre, who drove in three of the Rangers' five runs. "It is always nice to end a losing streak."

Beltre, serving on this night as designated hitter instead of patrolling his usual spot at third base, had to watch the Minnesota rally unfold from the Rangers' dugout.

"Even though it got a little exciting at the end, we won the game," he said. "But it is a little harder to watch than play in a situation like that."

Beltre's two-run home run in the first inning got the Rangers going in the right direction.

Texas pitcher Nick Tepesch, who turned in a gem to improve to 3-3, said the early runs played a role in his success.

Shin-Soo Choo, making a return to the leadoff spot, opened with a single and scored ahead of Beltre's blast. Choo had three hits, including an RBI double.

"I don't change my approach so I don't think it makes a difference where I hit," Choo said. "I've had a couple of seasons where I've hit third. But I have been leading off the last two years, so it feels a little bit like coming home."

In 17 previous starts, a slumping Choo batted third in the Rangers' order.

Manager Ron Washington, who seems to have a knack for getting results with a lineup change, said he felt like it was time to shake it up and get Choo back to the top.

Even with relief ace Joakim Soria struggling in the ninth, Washington said he was counting on his closer to work out of trouble.

"Closers usually do," the manager said.

Soria ended the game with a strikeout and a groundout.