By Will Martin
Not since June 4 had Adrian Beltre gone yard with the bat. For three weeks he sat on #8 for the season.
That would change with one swing in the first inning Friday night as he would go opposite field on the Minnesota Twins and Kevin Correia.
Coming into play on June 27 the Rangers fell victim to an eight game skid and were swept by the Tigers by a combined score of 22-3.
Texas needed some kind of energizer to set things in a different direction. Indeed it did in a couple of ways.
Ron Washington opted to place Shin Soo Choo in the leadoff spot. That choice would yield a three for four night. Beltre would add a third RBI with a sacrifice fly in the 8th inning and what seemed to be a safe 5-0 lead.
Serious kudos also to Nick Tepesch for a solid seven inning plus performance on the mound. A start like this kept Wash from having to tax the bullpen.
Which is not to say that the 9th inning was a joy ride for Joakim Soria. In between a single, double, walk, error and triple the Twins-losers of nine straight road games-would push across four runs before a stranded runner 90 feet away from a tie was kept there after Ron Washington paid Soria a visit and essentially told him to just make outs.
“My thought was I’ve got my closer in the game,’ Washington said. “I have to sit there and let him get out of it and they usually do. No one said it was going to be easy and it doesn’t matter how good you are. You’re facing Major League hitters and they fight for their at-bats …but in the end he got the third out and that’s all we needed.”
And what were Wash’s thoughts on the performance that Nick Tepesch provided?
“He was outstanding,” Washington said. “We needed a well-pitched game and he gave it to us. He was able to spot his fastball. He was able to throw his breaking ball. He was able to keep the ball down. He did exactly what we needed him to do and he deserves a lot of credit for tonight.”
With the win Texas remains two games ahead of the Astros for the cellar while Oakland continues to maintain a sizable lead of 13 games on Texas.
While the bigger question remains what the Rangers do come July 31? For one night the pitching and hitting were spot on golden. Beltre finds the seats for the first time in 23 days.
That also happens to be Nick Tepesch’s jersey number.