ARLINGTON, Texas — Even after Rangers starter Matt Harrison lost a no-hit bid in the seventh inning, there was another remarkable feat on the line at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
In the bottom of the same inning, third baseman Adrian Beltre singled to right field to complete the cycle in an 8-0 win over the Minnesota Twins.
Harrison’s no-hit bid, ended after 6 2/3 innings by a Trevor Plouffe single, kept Beltre from focusing on his own attempt at a statistical rarity.
“I didn’t think about the cycle until my last at-bat,” Beltre said. “I was thinking about the no-hitter the whole game.”
It was the second cycle of Beltre’s career but his first as a Ranger. Coincidentally, Harrison played a role in the other one, too.
When Beltre hit for the cycle in 2008 as a Seattle Mariner, also at Rangers Ballpark, three of his hits came off Harrison. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the first player in major league history to hit for the cycle in the same ballpark as both a visitor and a member of the home team.
“I love this ballpark,” Beltre said.
Beltre became the sixth Ranger to hit for the cycle, joining Oddibe McDowell (1985), Mark Teixeira (2004), Gary Matthews Jr. (2006), Ian Kinsler (2009) and Bengie Molina (2010).
His cycle was the first by an American League player since Molina pulled it off at Fenway Park. It was just part of a huge homestand for Beltre, who hit three home runs in Wednesday’s game and had a shot at the cycle Thursday, too.
“Last night I had a chance if I had a triple. [Pitcher] Colby Lewis told me about it, I didn’t think about it the whole game,” Beltre said. “Tonight I hit the triple and I told him, ‘Hey, maybe if the scorekeeper can give me that triple from yesterday…”
Beltre’s first-inning triple was a screaming liner to left-center that sent Twins outfielder Ben Revere crashing into the wall.
He followed that with a double down the left-field line in the second inning. Beltre homered over the out-of-town scoreboard in left field in the fifth inning.
“He did it the easy way,” Rangers manager Ron Washington joked. “Just had to get a single at the end.”
He accomplished that with a short liner through the right side, drawing an ovation from the crowd of 45,823.
“Tonight he stung the ball all night long,” Washington said. “It didn’t matter what pitch was thrown, fastball, change-up, curveball. It didn’t matter.”
Just a half-inning earlier, Rangers left fielder David Murphy made an heroic, diving catch of a sinking liner by Ryan Doumit to keep Harrison’s no-hit bid alive.
“That was as good of a break as I’ve gotten on a ball all year long,” Murphy said. “You don’t want to be the guy.”
But the next batter, Plouffe, lined a pitch to left field to end Harrison’s attempt at history.
“After that play I was pretty mentally drained at that point, just because the focus level is so high,” Harrison said. “Your focus level goes up anyway deeper in the game as you go, but I’ve never been like that before.”
Harrison pitched another inning after losing the no-hitter, giving him back-to-back starts of allowing just two hits over eight innings – the first Ranger to do so since Jim Bibby in 1973.
Harrison notched his 15th win by commanding his fastball down in the zone. He said his offspeed pitches were the best he’s thrown all season.
“I would describe him as a guy that was in control from the first pitch,” Washington said. “He was locked in.”