Beltre hits for cycle, leads Texas to win
ARLINGTON (AP) — Adrian Beltre was thinking about the possibility of being part of a no-hitter throughout the game.
The Texas Rangers third baseman didn’t think about hitting for the cycle until his final at-bat.
Beltre completed his second career cycle with a seventh-inning single, only minutes after Texas left-hander Matt Harrison lost his no-hit bid in the Rangers’ 8-0 win over the Minnesota Twins on Friday night.
So just what was the bigger story? Beltre’s cycle or Harrison allowing only two singles over eight innings for his career-best 15th victory.
“Harrison, definitely,” Beltre said. “He was terrific. He came out throwing strikes, hitting the corners, using the defense. He’s been solid all year. We expect to have a good outing from him, but today was something special.”
Harrison (15-7) didn’t allow a hit until Trevor Plouffe lined a solid single to left with two outs in the seventh. That came right after left fielder David Murphy made a diving catch fully extended on Ryan Doumit’s sinking liner to keep the no-hit bid intact, though Murphy had no chance to get to the next ball hit his way.
“That was an unbelievable play,” said Harrison, who pumped his fist when Murphy made the catch. “I guess I got a little too excited right there. I still feel like I made a pretty good pitch to (Plouffe).”
After shaking off catcher Luis Martinez calling for a fastball, Harrison threw a changeup. Plouffe got enough bat on the ball to knock it over the infield for the Twins’ first hit.
Fans stood and applauded Harrison on the All-Star’s effort. Among them in the front row was Rangers president Nolan Ryan, the Hall of Fame president who threw two of his seven career no-hitters while pitching for Texas.
“That was as good of a break as I’ve gotten on a ball all year long. … It’s fun to make a play in a situation like that,” Murphy said of his catch. “It’s an instinct-type of play and just go get it.”
Samuel Deduno (4-2) lost his second consecutive start after winning his first four major league decisions. The right-hander allowed seven runs and 11 hits over five innings.
Rookie left-hander Robbie Ross worked the ninth to close out the Rangers’ ninth shutout of the season. It was the eighth time Minnesota has been held scoreless this season.
“Pretty much dominated by the young left-hander (Harrison) over there. He pretty much ate us up,’” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We were pretty much a non-factor in the game today, they pretty much dominated.”
Beltre’s cycle came two nights after he hit three homers in a game against Baltimore.
After an RBI triple in the first inning against the Twins, his first three-base hit in two years, Beltre had an RBI double to cap a five-run second inning that put theRangers up 6-0. Beltre led off the fifth with his 24th homer, his third consecutive game with a homer. His single in the seventh inning gave him the cycle.
Over the past four games, Beltre is 12 of 18 with five homers, three doubles and a triple.
The other cycle for Beltre also came at Rangers Ballpark, when he was playing for Seattle on Sept. 1, 2008. Ironically, he had three of his hits that night off Harrison.
Beltre knows it would have probably been impossible for a cycle off Harrison on this night.
“No chance,” he said. “Maybe one, one little blooper.”
It is the sixth cycle in Rangers history. The last was Bengie Molina’s on July 16, 2010, at Boston, which was also the last time an AL player hit for the cycle.
Harrison allowed only two singles, his second consecutive start allowing only two hits in eight innings. The last Rangers pitcher to accomplish that was Jim Bibby in July 1973.
Harrison struck out five and walked two while throwing 118 pitches.
“A guy that was in control from the first pitch. He certainly commanded the strike zone, got a lot of quick outs,” manager Ron Washington said. “He was locked in.”
After walking the second batter of the game, Harrison didn’t allow another runner until he misplayed Ben Revere’s comebacker in the third and threw the ball away. That was the same inning third baseman Beltre fielded Alexi Casilla’s high chopper off the plate and threw him out on a close play at first.
Josh Hamilton singled and scored on Beltre’s triple in the first, when centerfielder Revere appeared to have the ball within his reach but was unable to come up with it as he ran hard toward the left-center wall. It was Beltre’s first triple since July 26, 2010.
Murphy led off the Rangers second with a double and scored on Mitch Moreland’s single. Deduno had a throwing error that allowed Moreland to score before Ian Kinsler had a two-run single.
Notes: It was the fourth cycle in the majors this season. Arizona’s Aaron Hill did it twice and Scott Hairston had one for the New York Mets. … The Rangers have scored at least five runs in an inning a majors-best 25 times this season, including once in both games against Minnesota this series. Arizona had 17 innings with five or more runs before Friday night. … Joe Mauer caught his 831st career game, matching Earl Battey for the most in Twins history.