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Adrian Beltre hits three homers, clubs the Rangers past the Rays and into the ALCS

Oct 4, 2011, 5:14 PM EDT

Texas Rangers v Tampa Bay Rays - Game 4 Getty Images

Adrian Beltre hit three homers — all solo shots — to lead the Rangers past the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3.  That win makes three which puts the Rangers in the ALCS, making it there by beating the Rays in the division series for the second straight year.

For the Rays, the season ends six days after it was improbably extended. The high drama occasioned by their pursuit of the collapsing Red Sox offset by a division series that was anti-climactic in the extreme. The momentum, if you believe in such things, carried over into their Game 1 drubbing of the Rangers, but after taking a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning of game 2, they seemed to have no life left in them at all. Mike Napoli took care of them in that game and in Game 3, Beltre today.  Into the postseason with a bang, out with a whimper.

Notes:

  • Beltre was the sixth player to hit three homers in a postseason game.  Reggie Jackson, Adam Kennedy, um, some other guys, and then Beltre.  Points to whoever can name the other three.
  • Matt Harrison struck out nine in five innings. Can’t say he looked extremely dominant — it wasn’t as if he was really overpowering guys — but results is results. And strikeouts lead to big pitch counts, which is why he only went five.
  • Major kudos to Ron Washington and the Rangers front office. Last year there was a sense that Cliff Lee, Hired Gun, was everything. With Lee gone, Jon Daniels pushed a number of buttons, Nolan Ryan opened the purse strings a bit and Ron Washington made it all happen in a way that people, I don’t think, truly appreciate. Just a fantastic organization they got down in Texas.
  • Sean Rodriguez scored from second on a Casey Kotchman single in the fourth. To score he had to barrel into Mike Napoli who is, suffice it to say, is much, much bigger than Rodriguez. Napoli had the plate blocked so the collision was unavoidable, but Napoli took a forearm to the jaw and looked a bit dazed afterward. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s OK and ready to go for the ALCS.
  • Matt Moore relieved Jeremy Hellickson. Believe it or not, it was his home debut. He too gave up a homer to Beltre, but he was impressive all the same. I’ve never seen someone generate his velocity with such an easy, almost lazy delivery. The season is over, but this kid’s future is crazy-bright.
  • Evan Longoria went 1-for-11 with 6Ks in the three Texas wins.  Ouch.
  • It ended up not mattering, but Sean Rodriguez was allowed to score his third run of the game in the ninth when he walked, was allowed to reach second on defensive indifference and then scored on a Casey Kotchman single.  Why on Earth would the Rangers just ignore the runner in that situation? I’ve always hated that. That run didn’t need to score.
  • The attendance was 28,299, which wasn’t a sellout. It’s hard to sell out games at Tropicana Field to begin with, and a weekday 2PM start makes it harder, but that’s still kind of a bummer.

And with that, the Rangers play the waiting game. Do they face the Tigers following A.J. Burnett-pocalypse tonight, or does Burnett hold serve for the Yankees and force a Game 5?  Playoff baseball: it’s, like, totally awesome.

  1. proudlycanadian - Oct 4, 2011 at 5:20 PM

    Rodriguez scored as many runs as Beltre. The winning run was the lead off homer by Kinsler. Tampa Bay could not catch up even though Rodriguez matched Beltre’s runs..

    Congratulations to both teams for a well played series. The Rays should have been in a rebuilding year, but managed to have a fine season.

  2. marshmallowsnake - Oct 4, 2011 at 5:22 PM

    Yes! By Tampa. Have a fun off season!

  3. Lukehart80 - Oct 4, 2011 at 5:26 PM

    Babe Ruth (twice), George Brett, and Bob Robertson.

    Where do I go to collect my points?

    • clydeserra - Oct 4, 2011 at 5:49 PM

      from wherever you read those names

      • Lukehart80 - Oct 4, 2011 at 8:30 PM

        I read them right here at HBT. I thought Craig was simply checking to see if we were reading Matthew’s entries.

  4. texasdawg - Oct 4, 2011 at 5:28 PM

    Bow down to the greatness of Texas, Calcaterra. Do it.

  5. bigleagues - Oct 4, 2011 at 5:28 PM

    Rays Fans – you’ll always have the magical night of October 28, 2011.

    Eagerly anticipating the spin from my buddy, bobdera.

    Although I’ve had my differences with hittfamily, I’ve come to enjoy his posts (mostly) . . . so my sincere condolences go out to him in his time of grieving.

    • Old Gator - Oct 4, 2011 at 5:40 PM

      What’s going to happen on October 28?

      Okay now, after me: “Edit function!”……

      • bigleagues - Oct 4, 2011 at 5:52 PM

        EDIT FUNCTION indeed!

        * September 28, 2011

    • proudlycanadian - Oct 4, 2011 at 5:40 PM

      October ? This calls for an edit function.

  6. clydeserra - Oct 4, 2011 at 5:56 PM

    Its a minor distinction, but Cliff Lee was good with the Rangers, not great. His ERA+ was 112 (v. 168 with the Mariners)

    Having him on your team would be better for the ranger’s but they were not replacing Cliff Lee 2011 production, just his second half numbers which is not super awesome.

  7. APBA Guy - Oct 4, 2011 at 6:21 PM

    I commented in Sept that the Rangers were incredibly loose, and they played that way in this series. They clearly respected the Rays, there was no crazy mouthing off or throwing at guys, but the Rangers are a veteran team compared to the Rays, and Wash in his own way is very good with that group of players. Their making the WS last year wasn’t all about Cliff Lee. They’ll miss a top starter in this round and the next, if they get that far, but I think having been there last year makes these guys very confident in the possibilities for this year’s team.

  8. roycethebaseballhack - Oct 4, 2011 at 6:23 PM

    At some point back in June, I realized that, given two choices:
    1) Cliff Lee in your rotation and Michael Young at third
    2) Adrian Beltre at third, and Cliff Lee throwing someplace else

    I would take option 2. Offhand, I’d say Adrian’s presence on the Ranger’s roster has had a larger impact than I imagined possible when they signed him – and I have a vivid imagination.

  9. Jeremiah Graves - Oct 4, 2011 at 6:26 PM

    Rangers bumped the Rays out of the playoffs two years in a row, do we get to call this a rivalry yet?

    Perhaps it’s the new powerhouses in the post-Yankees/Red Sox world we are all going to be living in when A-Rod and Jeter officially file for their AARP cards this offseason?

  10. 8man - Oct 4, 2011 at 6:37 PM

    Rays done. Wankees on the ropes. If all goes well….

    Even though my fat and, apparently, drunk Red Sox wouldn’t have beaten anyone in the playoffs, they got credited with a great collapse. So I still want to see the pain on New York’s faces.

    Out!

  11. thekcubrats - Oct 4, 2011 at 7:59 PM

    Rays didn’t pull of a G, because their shlubs played to their level (unlike last year’s Huff, Ross, Rentboy, etc) and their stars didn’t stay on fire. Last-day lucky to be in it, no surprise they got bounced.

    And might I add, RoWa cost the Rangers at least five if not ten wins this year (again) by his idiotic use and nonuse of the pen and a heap of a-strategic non-moves, bad moves and worse moves. His in-game managing nearly made the woeful Angels relevant. And for turning a juggernaut into just a division winner, he gets rewarded with high praise. Calc, really, victory shuts down the synapses?

    • veryindifferent - Oct 5, 2011 at 10:40 AM

      5-10 wins? That is crazy. I love the Rangers, but to think they’re a 100+ win team is far-fetched. And Wash has been perfect with every move in the playoffs. That’s when you need a manager, and he has been great.

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