ARLINGTON, Texas — Adrian Beltre was seeing things so well throughout the month of May that he could even see what was going on behind him.
He showed that Friday after his seventh-inning homer in a 7-2 victory over Kansas City.
After Cruz hit his 11th homer of the season, shortstop Elvis Andrus tried to distract Beltre in the dugout so manager Ron Washington could try and take off Beltre’s helmet to get in a head rub from behind
Beltre, whose head is always a dugout target, saw what was coming and spoiled the fun for the duo.
He spoiled plenty for the Royals also Friday, as he went 4 for 4 to cap a month in which he became the first Texas player to have at least four four-hit games in a month. Beltre had 44 hits in May, helping turn around a month that began with him hitting .222.
Beltre, who singled in the first, tacked on an RBI single in the third and added another single in the fifth, will begin June with a .306 average and plenty of momentum.
“I feel more comfortable,” said Beltre, who has three-straight multi-hit games. “I worked on some things with my hitting coach (Dave Magadan) the first month and it’s paying off now. I’m feeling more comfortable. One of the things that’s working for me is better pitch selection. I’m swinging at better pitches and getting lucky.”
Beltre’s four-hit night was just part of the 14-hit attack the Rangers used in support of Derek Holland, who ran his record to 5-2 and lowered his ERA to 2.81.
Texas trailed 1-0 before scoring four times in the bottom of the third. Beltre’s RBI single tied the game and Nelson Cruz followed with a three-run homer to left to give the Rangers the lead for good.
Cruz, who has extra-base hits in five-straight games, has been able to ride the wave of momentum that Beltre has ahead of him in the order. With Beltre having been on base so much the last month, Cruz has been able to pile up RBI.
“He’s getting on base every time so it’s good,” said Cruz, who now owns a six-game hitting streak heading into June. “I like to hit with men on base, men in scoring position. I like to do more damage.”
Despite the big third, Kansas City trailed just 4-2 before the Rangers added two more runs in the sixth and another in the seventh. Leonys Martin’s two-run double was broke the game open in the seventh and the 376-foot homer to left field by Beltre in the seventh capped a 17-win month for the Rangers.
Texas manager Ron Washington isn’t surprised by anything he’s seen by Beltre, who now is tied for the major-league lead in four-hit games (four) and has an eight-game hitting streak.
“Adrian’s been swinging the bat well for about three weeks now,” Washington said. “When you see Adrian recognize a breaking ball and go down to his knee and it leaves the ballpark, you know he’s swinging the bat well. It seems like as the season progresses, he always grinds it out. As the season moves along, he gets better and tonight was just an example of that. Every time we needed something he was up there and he gave it to us.”
Now Beltre just hopes his hot May carries over.
“When your swing is going good, you don’t think about a lot at the plate,” said Beltre, who hit .376 in May. “That’s when the instincts take over and you don’t think too much about it.”