ARLINGTON, Texas — Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre is smoking at the plate. He hit three home runs in his first three at-bats on Wednesday. On Friday he hit for the cycle for the second time in his career.
So which feat is more impressive?
“I think the more impressive one has got to be the cycle. That’s not easy to do,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said after his team blanked the Minnesota Twins 8-0 behind Beltre’s power hitting and Matt Harrison‘s eight-inning gem. “I think we’ve got what, six in the history of the Texas Rangers that have hit for the cycle? You’ve just got to be fortunate to do that. You usually don’t hit a triple; he hit a triple. In his second at-bat he hits a (double) and then he comes back and gets the (home run). He did it the easy way, but that’s the toughest thing to do.”
It was just the sixth cycle in Rangers history and, true, triples are hard to come by, and Beltre got his out of the way quickly. In fact, the first-inning blast off the base of the left-center field wall was his first three-bagger since July 26, 2010, a span of 302 games, the longest drought of his career.
But, Wash, three homers in one game? How often do you see that?
“Three home runs, we saw him do that before, so that’s no big deal,” Washington said. “And I know in his major league career he probably had two [cycles], but we have seen him hit three before and it was at a big time of the year, in the playoffs (at Tampa Bay). But, three home runs is great, it really is. But, to hit for the a cycle that’s got to be an awesome feeling.”
It is, Beltre acknowledged after collecting four more hits to give him three consecutive games of at least three hits, three more RBIs to get to 77 while raising his batting average to .316. But, Beltre said, give him the three homers over the cycle.
“I don’t know what’s more impressive, but I would take the three home runs,” said Beltre, who has 24 homers on the season. “I’ve already done the cycle before.”
Yeah, but you hit three home runs against the Rays in the ALDS. In the playoffs.
“Yeah, the playoffs, that’s different,” Beltre said. “When you hit three home runs you have a chance for a fourth.”