Beltre's blasts spark Rangers on Fourth of July
Slugger goes deep twice, leading late rally against Iwakuma
ARLINGTON -- Adrian Beltre put on his own fireworks show for the sellout crowd at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Independence Day.
The slugger went deep twice, sparking a four-run seventh in a 5-4 win against the Mariners in front of 46,476 on Thursday. It was his 24th career multihomer game and sent him past Joe DiMaggio for 75th all-time with 362 career home runs.
"I'm humbled to be mentioned with those kind of guys," Beltre said. "I don't think about numbers though. I just do whatever I can to help my team win games."
The second solo blast came in the seventh, cutting the Rangers' deficit to a run. The rest of the lineup took off after Beltre's spark. A.J. Pierzynski and Lance Berkman followed with a single and a walk, knocking Hisashi Iwakuma from the game. A Mitch Moreland single and sac fly from Elvis Andrus, who hit eighth in the lineup, drove both runners. Ian Kinsler added an RBI single to give the Rangers a 5-3 lead.
"I was more comfortable left-handed than a righty in that situation," Andrus said of facing lefty Charlie Furbush, who allowed both inherited runners to score. "I was just trying to be aggressive. I was able to stay back on the slider and put a good swing on it, and bring in the run."
The Rangers scored four runs or less in nine of their last 10 games entering Thursday's contest. They went 2-for-3 with runners in scoring position, an area the team has struggled with this season.
"I think [Beltre] was the main reason we got our offense back today," Andrus said. "He's one of those guys in any game, he can do that plenty of times. I'm very glad he's on my team."
Iwakuma dropped to 7-4, allowing four runs on five hits in six-plus innings. He struck out two and walked one on 88 pitches. Josh Lindblom took the win, moving to 1-2 this season. Linblom entered in the seventh after the Mariners broke a 1-1 tie against Neal Cotts, who had a rare rough outing.
Cotts gave up a two-run shot to Raul Ibanez, giving the Mariners a 3-1 lead. He was ahead, 0-2, in the count, before Ibanez fought back, going deep on the sixth pitch of a 2-2 count.
"He threw a fastball up, which he struck me out on [Wednesday]," Ibanez said. "I was just trying to not to do too much, and I was able to get the fat part of the bat and get it in the air to right field, and it worked out."
Cotts didn't record an out, allowing two runs on three hits. He hadn't allowed an earned run in his previous 15 1/3 innings over 14 outings. Lindblom relieved Cotts with two on and one out, and recorded two outs. The Mariners went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left 13 men on base.
"You just can't leave that many runners on in a one-run ballgame and expect to win," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said.
Tanner Scheppers allowed a late unearned run on one of two errors by the Rangers. The first came in the sixth: a throwing error by Kinsler with starter Martin Perez on the mound. He tried to turn a double play on a ground ball, but his throw to first was off target, allowing Kyle Seager to score and tie the game at 1. It ended Perez's scoreless innings streak at 16 2/3 innings.
Perez allowed only the unearned run in 5 1/3 innings. He allowed eight hits, struck out four and walked two on 87 pitches. The Rangers have won all three games Perez has pitched since he was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock.
"I feel good; I know I can compete here," Perez said. "Within myself, I'm more relaxed now."
The Rangers avoided a sweep with the win and they remain a half-game behind the A's in the American League West. They're now 24-20 all-time on Independence Day, winning 10 of their last 14 games on the Fourth of July.