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Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Unsung hero: Ian Kinsler

By Richard Durrett



ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- In a game that included a tremendous one-man show by Adrian Beltre, great bullpen work by Derek Holland, Alexi Ogando and company and solid starting pitching by Matt Harrison, it's easy to forget about the guy that got things started for the Rangers.

Ian Kinsler's first-inning homer set the tone for the Rangers' aggressive approach. He mashed an 0-1 changeup over the left field wall in the first at-bat of the game, giving Texas a 1-0 lead.

Kinsler's home run got the dugout fired up and forced the Rays into catch-up mode right away. It was also important for the Rangers to seize early momentum and give Harrison, making his first postseason start, a lead.

It was the first time the Rangers had scored in the first three innings of any game in the series. Beltre's homer to lead off the second made it 2-0, and the Rangers were able to add a few more and let their pitching do the rest.

Kinsler was solid, as usual, at second base. But the homer was exactly what makes him such a dangerous and versatile leadoff hitter. And it set the right tone in Game 4.