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Adrian Beltre hits three homers as Rangers eliminate Rays

October 4, 2011 |  2:41 pm

Fabforum 

Former Dodger Adrian Beltre hit three straight home runs and the Texas Rangers earned their second straight berth in the AL Championship Series, beating the Tampa Bay Rays, 4-3, Tuesday at St. Petersburg, Fla., to win their AL division series playoff matchup, 3-1.

Beltre became just the seventh player to homer three times in a postseason game. Texas ended the Rays' remarkable run to the AL wild card spot, and will play for the pennant against the Tigers-Yankees winner.

Ian Kinsler led off the game for Texas by homering on the second pitch from rookie Jeremy Hellickson.

Matt Harrison, who made a relief appearance in the Rangers' loss in the series opener, pitched five innings to get the win in his first postseason start. Neftali Feliz gave up a run in the ninth inning before closing for his third save of the series.

"The first couple games their pitching was really good," Beltre said. "Today something changed, I felt more comfortable at the plate, and I did something to help my team win."

Beltre hit solo shots off Jeremy Hellickson in the second and fourth innings, and added another solo drive against Game 1 winner Matt Moore in the seventh. The Rays weren't the only ones who had trouble keeping up with Beltre -- a television cameraman trying to run alongside Beltre to capture the image as the star jogged home did a face-first pratfall.

Beltre signed with Texas in the off-season after playing last year in Boston. He and Kinsler tied for the team lead with 32 homers, and Beltre had been on a late-season tear going into the playoffs.

"That's one of the main reasons I came to this team. We're looking good right now, but we still have a long way to go," he said.

Postseason three-homer games

AL division series

Game 4, 2011: Adrian Beltre, Texas at Tampa Bay

AL championship series

Game 5, 2002: Adam Kennedy, Angels vs. Minnesota

Game 3, 1978: George Brett, Kansas City at New York

NL championship series

Game 2, 1971: Bob Robertson, Pittsburgh at San Francisco

World Series

Game 6, 1977: Reggie Jackson, New York Yankees vs. Dodgers

Game 4, 1928: Babe Ruth, New York Yankees at St. Louis Cardinals

Game 4, 1926: Babe Ruth, New York Yankees at St. Louis Cardinals

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--Houston Mitchell

Photo: Adrian Beltre hits one of his three homers. Credit: Pierre Ducharme / Reuters.


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