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BAL@TEX: Beltre blasts a trio of home runs in a win

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers didn't quite score the 30 runs they pushed across in Baltimore five years ago but, thanks to Adrian Beltre, they still put on an impressive offensive display.

Beltre hit home runs in each of his first three at-bats and homered twice in a nine-run fourth inning that also included Mitch Moreland's first career grand slam. Exactly five years after the Rangers set a record for most runs in a Major League game by beating Baltimore, they outslugged the Orioles, 12-3, on Wednesday night at the Ballpark in Arlington.

"It was a lot of fun," Beltre said. "I finally had a good game offensively. I had been kind of struggling for a couple weeks. I wasn't able to drive the ball. Today was a good day. I hit the ball hard in the air."

Before Wednesday's series finale, Beltre had not homered in his last 52 at-bats and had just home run in his previous 29 games. He turned in his 23rd career multihomer game; his only other three-homer effort came in a 4-3 win over the Rays in the decisive Game 4 of last year's American League Division series.

"It was a fantastic night," manager Ron Washington said. "It's obvious he's not been up to par, but he's been hitting some balls on the screws, he's been getting jammed, which is baseball. I just hope tonight is one of those nights that he can grab and keep moving forward. He's been consistent for us all year."

By leading off the second inning with a home run off former Rangers teammate Tommy Hunter, Beltre became the ninth third baseman in Major League history with 10 20-homer seasons in his career. After Josh Hamilton led off the fourth with a single, Beltre belted his second home run of the game.

"I didn't keep the ball down and I didn't give my team a chance to win," Hunter said. "I don't go out there and try to give them up. I don't go out and say, 'Hey, here's a fastball out over the plate -- here, take it over the fence and let's lose the game.' That's now what I try to do."

But Beltre wasn't done. Each of the first eight batters reached base for the Rangers in the fourth, including Moreland, who hit an 0-1 offering from Hunter 382 feet over the right-field wall for his first career home run in 26 career at-bats with the bases loaded. Moreland tied a career high with five RBIs following a sacrifice fly that brought home Michael Young in the fifth.

Moreland hit a grand slam in a game against the A's last May, but the game was rained out and rescheduled, delaying his first grand slam until Wednesday. He and Beltre became the first pair of Rangers to drive in four runs apiece in the same inning.

"They thought rain was coming," Moreland said of his teammates. "We feel good. We're playing good baseball. And that was a good team we just played. You've got to tip your hat to them. It was a good series win. Hopefully we can keep it up this homestand."

Kevin Gregg got Elvis Andrus to ground into a 1-6-3 double play before walking Hamilton and bringing Beltre to the plate. Down 0-2 after whiffing on the first pitch and fouling off the second, Beltre sent a fastball just over a leaping Adam Jones and the fence in center field, making him the second player in Rangers history to hit two homers in the same inning as he joined Carl Everett, who homered twice in the seventh inning of a win over the A's in 2002.

"I've been working in the cages for a couple weeks with my hitting coach and trying to find a comfort zone," Beltre said. "I didn't feel comfortable. We changed some things with my feet and hands. I didn't feel comfortable. Today, it paid off."

Derek Holland picked up a win for the first time in his last five starts and did not allow a home run for the first time in his last seven outings. Nick Markakis' RBI single in the third inning and two-run triple in the fifth marked the only times the Orioles scored.

"I definitely feel like I'm in a groove," Holland said. "If I keep making my pitches, the defense is going to make the plays. Beltre made a lot of plays and also crushed the ball today. Overall, the guys are going to be on their toes if I'm going right after them. I've got to keep doing that."

With Holland and Hunter on the mound, the starting pitchers for the Rangers from each Game 4 of the last two World Series faced one another. Like he did last May, Holland got the best of Hunter, improving to 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA against the Orioles in his last three starts.

"Hopefully tonight is the night to get him over the hump where he can be consistent," Washington said. "He did have a good changeup working tonight. He was able to move his fastball in and out. He's been throwing the ball well."

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