Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Rangers extend playoff dominance of Rays
The Texas Rangers advanced to the ALCS with a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. It’s the second consecutive season they’ve beaten Tampa Bay in the divisional series to advance to the League Championship Series for just the second time in franchise history.
Adrian Beltre hit three home runs, just the fourth player in major-league history to hit three homers in a postseason series-clinching game. Beltre, George Brett and Babe Ruth are the only players with three solo homers in a postseason game.
The Rangers are just the second team in postseason history to win a game in which they scored at least four runs and all their runs came on solo home runs.
They join the 1995 Cleveland Indians who beat the Boston Red Sox, 4-3, in Game 3 of their ALDS.
Ian Kinsler led off the game with a home run, the first leadoff longball in postseason franchise history, and the first time in 30 postseason games the Rangers got a home run from the leadoff spot in the order (in any inning). Kinsler led the majors with seven leadoff homers in the regular season.
Matt Harrison started for the Rangers and tied his career-high with nine strikeouts in five innings pitched. He’s the second pitcher in postseason history to strike out at least nine in five innings or fewer, joining Steve Blass of the 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates.
It’s the fifth straight home game the Rays have lost to the Rangers in the postseason, tied for the third-longest active streak of its kind and tied for the fourth-longest that began after World War II (according to the Elias Sports Bureau).
Looking ahead to the ALCS, the Rangers struggled with both possible opponents. They were 2-7 with a 6.69 ERA against the New York Yankees and 3-6 with a 4.96 ERA against the Detroit Tigers.