ARLINGTON, Texas – Adrian Beltre’s flair for the dramatic reached new heights Thursday. He passed The Yankee Clipper in the record books – on the Fourth of July, no less – and helped the Rangers snap a losing streak.
Beltre hit two home runs off Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma to give him 362 for his career, passing the legendary Joe DiMaggio with 361.
“I don’t know,” Beltre said when asked about DiMaggio. “He played baseball a while ago.”
Beltre may not know much about DiMaggio, but he knows how to help his club break out of a hitting slump.
Beltre’s second-inning homer, a mammoth, 431-foot shot, gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead.
His second homer, a mere 407 feet, put the Rangers back within a run of the lead and started a four-run rally in the seventh.
“For him to come up there and get us within one run right there, and then we were able to put a rally together, it was big,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said.
The Rangers went on to win, 5-4, and break a two-game losing streak.
Beltre also snapped a personal streak of 22 games without a home run, his longest home run as a Ranger. It had been 89 at-bats since his last homer on June 9 at Toronto.
“It was about time,” Beltre said. “I haven’t hit a homer in a while. I’ve been feeling OK at the plate, but I haven’t really been driving the ball like I wanted to. Today was a different day and I was able to get a good pitch to hit and put a good swing on it. Finally one went out.”
Beltre showed signs of breaking out of his homer slump. He hit safely in the five previous games, including a double on Wednesday.
His last back-to-back games with extra bases hits where June 5-6 when he homered both days at Boston.
Thursday was his 24th career multi-hit game, as well as his first homers in Arlington since May 31, a drought of 17 games.
But it’s no surprise that the Rangers’ offense finally woke up once Beltre started hitting the ball out of the yard – even if both were solo homers because of struggles at the top of the lineup.
“He means everything,” Washington said of Beltre. “He shows up every day and he not only comes to do his job, he comes to beat the opponent. He battles every single day and he makes everyone around him better. When he shows up at the ballpark, everyone else comes in there with the same attitude.”
Sounds like the way DiMaggio rubbed off on his Yankees teammates back in the day.
“Congratulations to Adrian,” Washington said. “I didn’t know about that record, but there’s quite a few more in his future.”