We're still heading toward our No. 1 moment in our Dazzling Dozen series. Let's keep things going today with a special ALDS individual performance.
No. 6: Adrian Beltre hits three homers in Game 4 of the AL Division Series.
The Rangers found themselves back at Tropicana Field for the second consecutive season with a chance to clinch a spot in the AL Championship Series. After falling, 9-0, in Game 1 of the ALDS and trailing 3-0 early in Game 2, the Rangers had reversed the momentum of the series. They won Game 2 at home, then took a thrilling Game 3 at Tampa Bay, pushing all the right buttons and executing when it counted most to get the one-run win.
So they went into Game 4 knowing that a win would start another champagne celebration and send them onto the AL Championship Series against Detroit or New York.
And in a close ballgame, Adrian Beltre simply took over. Ian Kinsler had started the club's scoring with a leadoff solo shot in the first inning, making it 1-0 before many fans had even settled in their seats.
Beltre came up as the leadoff hitter in the second and hit a 1-0 pitch off starter Jeremy Hellickson to left field to make it 2-0 Texas.
The Rays closed the gap to 2-1 until the fourth, when Beltre came to the plate with no one on and one out. He took a 2-1 Hellickson pitch out to right, going with a pitch on the outer part of the plate and watching it land just over the fence. That gave the Rangers a little more breathing room as they held a two-run lead.
But the Rays scored in the bottom of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run again. Beltre led off the seventh inning against Matt Moore, who had baffled the Rangers in Game 1, and hit the first pitch he saw for a home run to left. That made it 4-2 and gave closer Neftali Feliz an important cushion as he gave up a run in the ninth, but the Rangers held on for the win and a trip to the ALCS.
What it meant: Beltre became just the sixth player in history to hit three home runs in the same postseason game. He joins an exclusive club: Adam Kennedy (2002 ALCS), George Brett (1978 ALCS), Reggie Jackson (1977 World Series), Bob Robertson (1971 NLCS) and Babe Ruth, who accomplished the feat twice (1926, 1928 World Series).
The aftermath: Beltre's blasts sent the club to the ALCS, where they would go on to beat the Tigers in six games. Interestingly, Beltre didn't take off in the ALCS after his tremendous Game 4 of the ALDS. He hit just .222 against Detroit with no homers and two RBIs. But he bounced back in the World Series, batting .300 with two homers and two doubles.