Beltre believes he's close after tough night

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Third baseman Adrian Beltre produced the Texas Rangers' only run in a 3-1 loss Thursday night to the Chicago White Sox.

In his eyes, and for the team, that's not enough. Beltre, who had a home run in his first at-bat, stranded four runners in his final two at-bats, both crucial misses as the Rangers lost a series for the the first time this season.

For the second time this week, Beltre hit a home run -- this one to start the second inning for a 1-0 lead -- that seemingly was the moment to get him rolling. But it's not that time yet.

Beltre batted with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the sixth. The White Sox had just taken the lead on a two-out, three-run home run homer by catcher Tyler Flowers off Justin Grimm. The Rangers' rookie pitcher had been steaming along before three hits in the inning, the last one on a hanging curve ball out of the strike zone.

Beltre had a chance to immediately get the runs back. But White Sox reliever Matt Lindstrom was able to get ahead of him on two sliders. Lindstrom threw him another one and jammed Beltre. He hit a roller out to third baseman Conor Gillaspie that he turned for a rally-killing double play.

"It was a backdoor slider," Beltre said. "Instead of breaking away it broke in. I was hoping it was going to kind of hang but instead of hanging it backed up on me. I was a little late and I hit a ground ball."

Fate dealt Beltre another chance to turn the game in the bottom of the eighth. Pinch hitter Leonys Martin led off with a single, and after two fly balls outs, Lance Berkman walked to put the tying runs on base. Beltre again came up with a chance to tie the game or give the Rangers the lead, but he struck out on a 72-mph curve ball by Jesse Crain.

That left Beltre at 4-for-34 with runners in scoring position this season. He batted .287 with runners in scoring position last season.

"He's just missing pitches," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "That's it."

For his part, Beltre refuses to get down on himself. But he wants to do better for his teammates.

"I'm not frustrated, but I'm the kind of guy, I like to produce," Beltre said. "I'm here to produce. Obviously it's not happening. I'm not frustrated, but of course I want to do better. The team is relying on me right now. I'm getting in a lot of situations where I should be producing and doing a lot better, and I'm not doing that."

His night started splendidly when he hammered a cutter from White Sox starter Hector Santiago into the left-field seats. Beltre said he hates cold weather but wasn't bothered by the 43-degree game time temperature.

It was another moment -- just like his two-run homer on Tuesday -- when it looked like he was ready to break out. Beltre still believes he is.

"I hope," Beltre said. "That's what I want to think. I felt better today, though I missed two clutch at-bats in key situations that I didn't come through. I saw the ball better today. I feel a little better. Hopefully tomorrow I'll improve."

Washington, not surprisingly, is standing by one of his best players.

"He's going to be a run producer," Washington said. "I know he is. We scored one run tonight, and he got it for us. I can tell you this, what you see right now you won't see as we go through the season. That's a guarantee."