Saturday, September 10, 2011
Encouraging signs from Moreland, Beltre
By Jeff Caplan
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Some gratuitous A's fielding this season has helped the Rangers, but on Saturday, Oakland taketh away, securing an 8-7 and snapping a nine-game losing streak to Texas.
Left-fielder Josh Willingham made a terrific catch lunging toward the wall to rob David Murphy. Center fielder Ryan Sweeney took extra bases away from Michael Young. Third baseman Scott Sizemore caught Adrian Beltre's foul pop as he stopped himself from falling down the dugout stairs.
First baseman Brandon Allen snuffed a Mitch Moreland liner down the first base line for an easy double play to kill a potential eighth-inning rally. And in the ninth, after the Rangers found fresh life after an apparent blown call, Beltre's liner with a man on second met second baseman Adam Rosales' glove to end the game.
Moreland doubled in two runs in the fourth inning to tie the game, 3-3, and although his eighth-inning shot would have gone foul if not for Allen playing practically on the bag to guard against a double down the line, he sure would have liked another shot.
"I just happened to hit right at him," Moreland said. "It's not really deflating. It just happens. I hit it right at him."
Stuff happens, but the Rangers are also glad to see Moreland making better contact. He has three RBIs in the first two games of this series after driving in just two runs in the previous 16 games.
Beltre continues to smack the ball with force since his return to the lineup. Prior to the game manager Ron Washington said he's getting closer to returning Beltre to the cleanup spot.
Perhaps Saturday served as the tipping point for that decision. Beltre, batting fifth, went 3-for-5 with his first home run, No. 299 on his career, since July 19. This was his third consecutive multi-hit game and it extended his hit streak to 15 games -- dating back to before his stint on the disabled list -- the longest active streak in the American League.
He's sitting at a season-high .282.