The home runs just keep flying out of Tropicana Field today. After Jeremy Hellickson started off the game by allowing three home runs through four innings — one to Ian Kinsler, two to Adrian Beltre — Rays pitching phenom Matt Moore entered the game and proceeded to shut down the Rangers.
Well, at least, Moore did for the first two innings. But leading off the third inning, Adrian Beltre had other plans. Beltre turned on the very first pitch — a 93 MPH fastball over the plate — and crushed it over the left field stands for his third home run of the game. While Moore then proceeded to retire the Rangers after that with little problem, the damage had been done; the Rangers had gotten an insurance run for the bullpen and led the Rays 4-2.
This home run makes Adrian Beltre the very first player to ever hit three home runs in a division series game. He’s been on fire recently, hitting 15 home runs over his last 20 games, and he could single-handedly carry the Rangers past the Rays in this game.
Adrian Beltre has historically been given lots of grief for only performing well in contract years, but his 2011 season should be a reminder to everyone that he’s still one heck of a player. He hit 32 home runs while playing exceptional defense at third base, and his .296/.331/.561 line was an important cog in the middle of the Rangers’ lineup.