|Published:||Aug 23, 2012 12:16 AM EDT|
|Updated:||Aug 23, 2012 6:31 AM EDT|
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Adrian Beltre could not deny it. With two chances at matching a major league record four homers, he was thinking only one thing.
"I'm trying to hit a home run," Beltre said. "I got a pitch to hit, too, but I couldn't do it."
Beltre hit three home runs, including two in a nine-run fourth inning, and had five RBIs in the Texas Rangers' 12-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night.
He had chances in the sixth and eighth to become the 17th player all-time to hit four home runs - teammate Josh Hamilton did it May 8 at Baltimore - and grounded out both times.
Beltre hit his first homer leading off the second against former teammate Tommy Hunter. He connected again off Hunter for a two-run shot with none out in the fourth. He then hit another two-run drive with two outs while facing Kevin Gregg.
"It was a fantastic night," manager Ron Washington said. "I was hoping for him to get a fourth one also, but it didn't work."
Mitch Moreland hit his first grand slam in the fourth, when the Rangers sent 12 batters to the plate. He matched Beltre with a career high-tying five RBIs.
The power surge supported a solid effort by Derek Holland. The left-hander pitched seven innings, giving up three runs and five hits. He struck out five and walked three.
Hunter (4-8) allowed eight runs on eight hits - three home runs - in three-plus innings. Hunter, who spent parts of four seasons with the Rangers, was acquired by the Orioles along with first baseman Chris Davis in a 2011 trade-deadline deal for right-handed reliever Koji Uehara.
"He made a lot of mistakes," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "And they make him pay for it."
With his first home run, Beltre became the ninth third baseman with 10 seasons of at least 20 home runs. Beltre has had 23 multihomer games in his career. He also hit three homers in Game 4 of the AL division series against the Rays last year.
The Rangers gave Holland (8-6) plenty of support with the big inning.
Josh Hamilton, who matched a major league record with four home runs May 8 against the Orioles at Camden Yards, started the inning with a single and scored on Beltre's drive to left.
Nelson Cruz and Michael Young followed with singles before David Murphy's run-scoring double. A walk to Geovany Soto set up Moreland's grand slam.
Three batters later Beltre hit his second homer of the inning, driving in Hamilton, who walked.
Beltre, who entered the game hitting .244 in his last 31 games, is hitting .462 (6 for 13) in his last three.
"I've been kind of struggling for a couple of weeks," Beltre said. "I've been working in the cages trying to find a comfort zone with my feet and hands.
"The last three days I stuck with something," he added.
Beltre, Murphy, Young and Ian Kinsler each had more than one hit. Shortstop Elvis Andrus was the only starter without a hit for the Rangers, who improved to 13-8 in August and maintained a five-game lead over Oakland in the AL West.
Murphy has five multihit games in his last six and is hitting .519 with four doubles, one home run and seven RBIs during the stretch. Since July 24 he leads the majors with 13 doubles.
Moreland swung the bat well, Murphy swung the bat well, we got it up and down the lineup tonight," Washington said.
Nick Markakis went 3 for 4 with three RBIs for Baltimore.
NOTES: The Rangers said before the game that right-hander Yu Darvish would not make his next scheduled start on Thursday as a precaution because of tightness in his right quadriceps. Team officials said Darvish is expected to make his next start on Tuesday. ... Orioles catcher Matt Wieters left the game after the sixth inning because of a right shoulder contusion sustained on a foul tip in the second inning. X-rays were negative. ... Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Jim Thome, on the disabled list with a herniated disk, is pain free and will begin baseball activities on Thursday. ... Uehara completed a rehabilitation appearance at Triple-A Round Rock with no complications and will pitch again Friday.