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Thursday, July 4, 2013
Rangers follow Beltre's lead yet again

By Todd Wills


ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers followed the lead of Adrian Beltre again on Thursday night.

That never seems to fail them.

Beltre provided the boom in the Rangers' offense on the Fourth of July. He belted two home runs, the second sparking a four-run bottom of the seventh as Texas rallied for a 5-4 victory over the Seattle Mariners before a sellout crowd at Rangers Ballpark.

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The Rangers' offense was dormant most of the night. They had three hits in six innings off of Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma with the lone run coming on Beltre's solo home run to center field in the second inning for a 1-0 lead.

The Rangers were down 3-1 when Beltre stepped up to the plate to start the bottom of the seventh. He connected yet again, cranking another solo shot to center field to cut Seattle's lead to 3-2, igniting a big inning.

A.J. Pierzynski started the winning rally with a single. Lance Berkman, batting .200 in his last 20 games, drew a walk, putting Iwakuma out of the game. That brought up first baseman Mitch Moreland, who had been hitless in his last seven at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Moreland bounced a seeing-eye single up the middle off Mariners reliever Charlie Furbush to tie the game at 3-3. Pinch runner Engel Beltre used his speed to get to third on the play, putting the Rangers in position to take the lead with a productive out.

That came from Elvis Andrus, who was moved from second to eighth in the batting order by manager Ron Washington, hoping to take some pressure off of his All-Star shortstop. Only Andrus found himself in a big situation anyway.

After fouling off two fastballs, Andrus lined a slider from Furbush into left field, and Engel Beltre scampered home with the go-ahead run. Ian Kinsler added a key run with a single to center field for a 5-3 lead.

"The whole inning was big for us," Moreland said. "I was happy to be a part of it."

The Rangers don't get it done without Adrian Beltre. He entered Thursday with a 22-game home run drought, his longest as a Ranger. He had gone 89 at-bats without a long ball going back to June 9 at Toronto.

With two swings of the bat, he passed New York Yankees Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio for 75th on the all-time home run list with 362. "I'm humbled," Beltre said after the game. He's also clutch.

"He was huge for us today," Andrus said. "It's important to get our offense back for us. He's one of those guys who can do that any time. I'm glad he's on our team."

The Rangers had scored five runs in 24 innings against Seattle pitching entering the seventh inning. They had the look of the team that had lost six straight games during the last homestand, scoring eight runs in the losses.

The Rangers had 10 ground ball outs in the first six innings against Iwakuma.

"I don't think we're trying too hard," Beltre said. "It just wasn't happening. I don't think anyone is pressing."

The offense just needed someone to get a big hit. A game-changing hit. Beltre did that to start the seventh inning.

"The last couple of days we've been struggling to get the big hit," Beltre said. "Today was a better day, even if it was late."