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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — This is what Adrian Beltre envisioned when he signed with Texas in the offseason. Balls jumping off his bat in October, the Rangers making another run for the pennant.
Beltre hit three straight home runs and the defending AL champions advanced again, beating the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 in Game 4 Tuesday to win their playoff matchup.
Beltre put on a power show that few players in major league history have matched, helping Texas take the best-of-five series and ending the Rays’ remarkable run to the wild-card spot. The Rangers next play the Detroit Tigers-New York Yankees winner.
“From my point of view, Texas gave me the best chance to put a ring on my finger,” Beltre added, “and I am just two steps away from it. Hopefully that happens.”
Ian Kinsler led off the game for Texas by homering on the second pitch from rookie Jeremy Hellickson.
Then it was Beltre’s turn. He came into the game in an 1-for-11 slump in this series before breaking loose.
Maybe Beltre’s best day as a pro.
“I think besides my first big league hit, this is right up there,” said the slugger, who spent last season with the Boston Red Sox. He’s back in the postseason for the first time since 2004, when he was with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
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