The Texas Rangers clinched a spot in the ALCS with a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, taking the series 3-1 on Adrian Beltre's back, as the third baseman hit three solo home runs to power his team into the second round of the postseason for the second straight year.
• Al Yellon remarked on the history of Beltre's historic afternoon. Memo to whoever faces the Rangers in the ALCS: if you throw him a fastball, you will regret it.
Babe Ruth. Reggie Jackson. George Brett. Hall of Famers, every one of them.
They all do. Until Tuesday afternoon, those five men were the only players in major-league history to hit three home runs in a postseason game. The Babe did it twice, in the 1926 and 1928 World Series.
• BN's fearless leader Rob Neyer gave us yet another reason to fear the Rangers moving forward — Alexi Ogando's re-emergance as a dominant reliever. You'll remember his sub-2 ERA in last year's second half, and after an All-Star season as a starting pitcher, he's reprised his old role.
Of course, this season Ogando earned a spot in the Rangers' rotation. But he faltered some down the stretch and the Rangers have five worthy starting pitchers, so now he's in the bullpen. And in Game 4 today, he assumed the eighth-inning role usually filled by Mike Adams, who instead pitched the seventh.
In 2⅔ innings against the Rays, Ogando's been nearly perfect. And if he's back to his old form, the Rangers now have three lights-out relievers for the late innings, each capable of going at least one full inning almost every game.
• There was a violent collision at home plate when Sean Rodriguez barreled through Mike Napoli to put the Rays on the board in the second inning, and it's astonishingly well captured, even in pixellated form, in a GIF by Rob Neyer.
• Before any of the drama happened, on Adrian Beltre's first home run, there was a break for comedy. And boy, is it hilarious, as a cameraman straight falls and destroys a piece of equipment likely worth thousands of dollars. Hope you got that insurance.