Beltre’s 3 homers blast Rangers past Orioles

ARLINGTON, Texas Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton wanted some company in the four-home-run club. Teammate Adrian Beltre nearly gave him some Wednesday night.

The Texas third baseman hit homers in each of his first three at-bats before grounding out in his final two in a 12-3 victory over Baltimore.

Hamilton hit four homers against the Orioles earlier this season, and Beltre was trying to give the Rangers the only teammates in history to have four-homer games in the same season.

“I told him to do it so we could have a figurine night,” said Hamilton. “Me on one and you on the other side. Four bombs. That would be pretty sweet wouldn’t it?”

It’s not like Beltre wasn’t trying for it.

He hit a homer off Tommy Hunter in the second inning to give Texas a 1-0 lead. He  blasted his second in his next at-bat, drilling a two-run homer to left to start a nine-run fourth.

Beltre capped the scoring in the inning by lining another homer to center off Kevin Gregg, becoming just the second player in team history to have two homers in the same inning. Carl Everett also did it in 2002.

Beltre, whose homers totaled 1,187 feet, said he was trying to hit home runs after hitting the second one off Hunter. He got two chances for No. 4. He had a pitch to hit off Matt Lindstrom in the sixth but grounded out to third. He came up again with one out in the eighth but grounded into a double play.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Beltre, who came into Wednesday in a power slump with just one home run in the last 29 games. “Finally I had a good game offensively. I’ve been kind of struggling for a couple of weeks. Today was a good today. I hit the ball hard in the air.”

Beltre was so locked in that he didn’t even realize that his second and third homers came in the same frame.

“I didn’t know I had two in one inning,” he said. “It’s kind of cool. It’s the best inning of my life, probably.”

While Beltre fell short of four homers, he did become just the ninth third baseman to have 10 or more seasons with 20 home runs. The three-homer game also was his first in the regular season. He had three homer in Game 4 of the 2011 American League Division Series.

He’s also just the fifth player to have three-homer games in the regular season and postseason, joining Albert Pujols, George Brett, Reggie Jackson and Babe Ruth.