Sunday, May 12, 2013
Umpires get the review right for Beltre
By Todd Wills
HOUSTON -- This time, the umpires got it right.
That made Adrian Beltre's three-run home run in Sunday's 12-7 victory over Houston at Minute Maid Park the most memorable moment in a win that clinched a three-game sweep of the struggling Houston Astros. The Rangers start a new week with the best record in baseball at 24-13.
Beltre's fifth-inning homer gave the Rangers a 12-1 lead. Big deal, right?
Well, it was because the umpiring crew had to go to instant replay to get the call right. And that's noteworthy because a video review didn't work Wednesday when Oakland's Adam Rosales hit a game-tying home run in the ninth inning that was incorrectly ruled a double on the field and was curiously upheld by umpire Angel Hernandez after he saw it on TV.
Beltre, batting with two runners on and one out in the fifth, belted a long drive to left-center field that hit off the wall in front of Crawford Street. The ball hit a pillar between the archways and was ruled in play by third-base umpire Jeff Kellogg.
With the naked eye, and in Kellogg's defense, it was difficult to see. Rangers manager Ron Washington made the right decision in asking for a review, saying that the ball hit above the yellow line in left-center field. The umpires reviewed the play -- Kellogg is the crew chief -- and awarded Beltre his eighth home run.
"I thought the ball was high enough," Washington said. "I wasn't sure because, for some reason, you lost it with the background. But it was worth a try. And when I came back, [Nelson]Cruz came down [from the clubhouse] and said it was a home run."
Beltre said he had no idea what was going on when he stopped at second base, but he was glad to see his manager come racing out of the dugout to argue.
"I knew I hit it good and where I hit it, it had a chance to go, but I didn't see it where it hit the wall," Beltre said. "I saw the ball ricochet and whatever it did and I stopped at second. Ron got out there and argued and got me a home run. It's not nice to hit a home run and get a double."
It turned out the Rangers didn't need the extra runs. That's because the Rangers, playing without regulars Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler, already had a 9-1 lead on the Astros when Beltre hit his blast.
Every Ranger that started had a hit, and there were heroes aplenty. David Murphy had a two-run home run for a 5-0 lead in the top of the third. Leonys Martin, starting for Cruz in right field, had his second home run. Lance Berkman had a ringing double in the first inning that got the bats going and the Rangers a 1-0 lead.
But it was utility man Leury Garcia who stole the show. He scored four runs, had three singles, stole a base and made a splendid defensive play to end the game.
"It's nice to know when Ian gets a day off that Leury can contribute and score four runs," Beltre said. "I don't think Ian has scored four runs in a game this season."
The Rangers have moved closer to being a complete team because of their bench. There were two pinch-hit extra-base hits in Saturday's 8-7 victory. Garcia, Murphy and Martin, who didn't start Saturday, combined for six of the Rangers' 17 hits on Sunday.
"The type of team we have the guys are getting more of a chance to get to play than they have in the past," Washington said. "They're more prepared and more ready to go up there and ready when the opportunity is there to do the job.
"Leury Garcia was the one guy today I didn't expect to make a whole lot of contact because he's the one guy in the lineup who hasn't been playing a lot. He had a good day. That's what you like to have in extra guys."
You also like to have your cleanup hitter producing in a big way. Beltre had four hits and four more RBIs on Sunday. He has 16 hits and 12 RBIS in his past 43 at-bats after going through a stretch during which he couldn't get hits with runners in scoring position.
The video review and result made the numbers look even better.
"His average is climbing, and the RBIs are starting to pile up," Washington said. "He's my RBI guy."