"Always," Beltre said. "You want to start strong, be in the middle strong, and finish strong. In my case, obviously, I didn't. I haven't produced the way I wanted to, I haven't played the way I wanted to, so of course I want to finish strong and healthy."
Would it make a difference in his decision to come back for one more season?
"It would have nothing to do with it," Beltre said.
It certainly wouldn't take away from the Rangers' desire to have Beltre come back next year.
"Huge bright spot," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "Seems like he is feeling better. He's able to stay on those legs, able to generate some power. You see the bat speed coming back. When he is in this kind of zone, he's a dangerous hitter."
But the Rangers were in no mood to revel Beltre's accomplishments on Saturday, even if he took another significant step on the all-time home run list. The two home runs on Saturday moved Beltre past Carlos Delgado into 32nd place all time with 474 for his career. Just ahead are Hall of Famers Willie Stargell and Stan Musial, who are tied for 30th with 475.
The Rangers were more concerned about another game that got away. They led, 4-2, after four innings, after Nomar Mazara hit a two-run double in the third and Jurickson Profar launched his 16th homer in the fourth. The Athletics surged ahead against the bullpen before Beltre tied the game, 6-6, with a two-run home run in the eighth. Oakland won it in the bottom of that inning on a home run by Matt Olson and an RBI double by Matt Chapman off reliever Chris Martin.
"Those guys are good players," Beltre said. "They find a way to get back. We got to the bullpen a little bit, which is hard to do, but they played better than we did today. We had plenty of chances to score more runs, and we didn't. That was the bottom line."
Rangers starter Yohander Mendez allowed just one hit, but it was a two-run home run to Khris Davis in the first inning. He had a 4-2 lead after four but threw 87 pitches as he struggled to attack hitters and get ahead early in at-bats.
"I was always getting behind in the count," Mendez said. "I tried to come back, but I was always at 3-2. My pitch count was too high. I was trying to attack early, but today I didn't have my pitches. I couldn't get my pitches back. It was a hard time for me today."
It was hard for the Rangers' bullpen, too, as the Athletics scored six runs over the last four innings against Martin Perez, Eddie Butler, Alex Claudio and Martin.
The story today was [giving up] seven two-out runs," Banister said. "Couldn't complete the inning without giving up the run. We made it very challenging for our ourselves. One of those situations we needed somebody to put their foot down and stop an inning and we couldn't get it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED The Rangers had Shin-Soo Choo at third and Rougned Odor at second with no outs in the fifth when Elvis Andrus hit a high chopper in front of the plate. Pitcher Cory Gearrin fielded it and fired to first, but the throw hit Andrus and caromed away. Choo scored but home-plate umpire Gabe Morales called Andrus out for running out of the baseline and sent the runners back. The Rangers ended up not scoring in the inning.
"My argument was he was going to be safe anyway, whether the throw got there or not," Banister said. "You are penalizing a guy who was getting down the line good. Looked like the throw wasn't going to be there."
SOUND SMART Mendez, who threw six scoreless innings in his last start against the Twins, entered the game with the goal of attacking hitters and getting quick outs. Instead, the Athletics made him work. Mendez faced 16 batters and 11 of those at-bats lasted more than four pitches. Against the Twins, 13 of 21 batters faced were done in four pitches or less.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS Beltre just missed another home run in the third with a drive to deep right-center. But he fell just short as center fielder Ramon Laureano made a terrific catch leaping into the wall to take away an extra-base hit.
HE SAID IT "Oh, I made a stupid comment, and he got [offended], that's it. I was just kidding." -- Beltre, on being shown on camera rough-housing with Odor
UP NEXT The Rangers are going with an "opener" on Sunday with rookie left-hander Jeffrey Springs (0-0, 2.29 ERA) scheduled to start against the Athletics at 3:05 p.m. CT at the Coliseum. Springs is expected to pitch two innings and then be followed by rookie right-hander Ariel Jurado. The two worked in this arrangement on Monday against the Angels and combined for six scoreless innings. Right-hander Trevor Cahill (6-3, 3.60) pitches for the Athletics.