9/25/2013 1:04 A.M. ET
Rangers expect to surpass three million in attendance
By T.R. Sullivan and Master Tesfatsion / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- With six games to go, the Rangers are expected to go over three million in attendance for the second straight year. The Rangers went into Tuesday's game with the Astros having drawn 2,907,758 fans. They have been averaging 38,770 fans per game.
The Rangers set a club record last season by drawing 3,460,280 fans and averaging 42,270 per game. They have drawn at least 2.9 million in three other seasons, but this will be only the second time to go over three million.
The Rangers average of 38,770 fans per game is the second highest average in the American League. The Yankees lead with 40,338. There are three teams in the National League with higher attendance averages: the Dodgers (45,973), Cardinals (41,564) and Giants (41,614).
No hard feelings from Beltre after being plunked
ARLINGTON -- Adrian Beltre did everything Tuesday from hitting the game-winning home run, to causing his teammates to fall asleep and even staring down a pitcher in the 3-2 win over the Astros at Rangers Ballpark.
Tied at 2, Beltre gave Texas the lead with a solo home run to left field off Brad Peacock in the sixth. It was his first homer since Aug. 28 against the Mariners. The nearly month-long home run drought caused his teammates to pass out as he rounded the bases and returned to the dugout.
"The guys fell out and went to sleep," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "I was the only one that greeted him."
"It's true, I can't blame them," Beltre said. "It's been a long time, but hopefully that'll be the beginning of a couple this week. Not because I hit a homer, but because it was a good spot to hit it to give our ballclub the lead and that's what I want."
The Rangers are 24-3 when Beltre hits a home run and he finished 1-for-2 with a walk and a hit by pitch in the eighth on an 0-2 pitch from Josh Zeid that bothered the third baseman. He was hit around the left side of his back on a pitch that tailed inside with two outs.
Beltre flipped his bat and stared right at Zeid. He walked around before slowly taking his base, but he continued to glance at Zeid.
"You could feel him staring at you," Zeid said. "I know I've got 35 guys in the dugout who would help me if anything were to happen. He's been around the game for a while, and I would hope to think that he knows it wasn't on purpose. We're just trying to be aggressive inside."
Beltre wasn't sure if Zeid hit him intentionally, which led to the dramatic moment. Beltre said Zeid took a while to select his pitch and thought the reliever was upset he kept stepping out of the batter's box as a result.
"I don't have any problem with him and he doesn't have a reason to hit me," Beltre said. "I don't think he meant to hit me on purpose at first, but at the second, that's what I thought. It's no biggie, no big deal. I don't think he was trying to hit me. Maybe I overreacted a little bit."
Holland happy to hit 200-inning mark
ARLINGTON -- Rangers pitcher Derek Holland accomplished a personal goal during Monday's 12-0 victory over the Astros. Holland, with nine scoreless innings, has now pitched 208 1/3 innings this season.
It's the first time in his career he has reached the 200-inning mark. He finished with 198 in 2011 and then dropped to 175 1/3 last year when he missed time with a stomach virus. Going into Tuesday, Holland was seventh in the American League in innings pitched.
"Yeah it means something, it means I did something good this year," Holland said. "It's a huge accomplishment. The goal you set every year is to go 200 innings. When you go over 200 innings, you must be doing something right. To me, that's huge."
Holland gave credit to the Rangers training staff, especially strength and conditioning coordinator Jose Vazquez.
"I feel I'm stronger than I have been in my career and I'm in the best shape," Holland said. "There is still more. There is always more. But this year I have been really consistent."
Holland has one more regular season start scheduled for Saturday against the Angels. Yu Darvish is joining Holland in the 200-inning club. He went into Tuesday's start against the Astros having pitched 198 2/3 innings and also has one more start on Sunday against the Angels.
"It's definitely important," manager Ron Washington said. "Those type of innings show you're getting deep into ballgames and making your starts. When we lost some of our pitching staff, those guys had to take on that load and they did. It's a huge accomplishment."
Holland's shutout on Monday was his seventh in the past five years. The only two pitchers with more are Cliff Lee with 10 and Roy Halladay with nine. Clayton Kershaw and Felix Hernandez both have seven too.
Washington impressed with Soto's attitude
ARLINGTON -- Rangers catcher Geovany Soto, with just six games to go in the regular season, was out early on Tuesday working on his throwing with roving catching instructor Junior Ortiz.
"Just routine," Soto said. "Just staying on my routine and keep working."
Maybe, but Soto's attitude and work ethic in accepting a backup role is greatly appreciated by manager Ron Washington. It's why Washington wants Soto back next season.
"He has been a pro and a great teammate," Washington said. "He doesn't complain about anything. All he does is want to win and when he gets his opportunity, he's always ready. You don't want complainers. When you have complainers, all they have is built-in excuses. He just goes out there and plays baseball.
"That's what you want from your young players. You get to the point where you've played baseball all your life. No matter how much you play, that's when you go out and play. He came here with that attitude. He loves to play the game and he loves to win. He's a great teammate. He could have been a weight on this team and pulled us down. He didn't."
Soto is eligible for free agency and despite spending the season backing up A.J. Pierzynski, he still said he would like to return to the Rangers next season.
"I'd love to be here," Soto said. "This team is unbelievable. We have a great clubhouse. I'd love to be here. Everybody gets along and everybody pulls for each other."
Soto gets fourth start with Darvish
ARLINGTON -- Geovany Soto was in the starting lineup on Tuesday at catcher with A.J. Pierzynski being used at designated hitter. It was the fourth straight time Soto has been behind the plate with Darvish on the mound.
"They work well together," Washington said. "If anybody doesn't think they work together, the other night in Tampa Bay proved it. It's another opportunity for Soto to catch."
Darvish was able to get through five innings and allow just two runs despite walking six and giving up five hits. He has a 1.89 ERA in his last three games. But Washington still doesn't want Soto being designated as Darvish's personal catcher.
"This is an opportunity for Soto to get a game," Washington said. "Anything else I say leads down a path I don't want to go. Darvish's first [nine games] he was 7-1. Who had him as catcher? A.J."
• Nelson Cruz is 5-for-15 with a home run and four RBIs in his first four games of advanced instructional league. Cruz is playing in the instructional league while serving is 50-game suspension and would be eligible to play on Monday if there is a Wild Card tie-breaker game.
• Alex Rios hit for the cycle on Monday while Derek Holland was throwing a shutout. It's only the fifth time in Major League history that a pitcher has thrown a shutout while a teammate was hitting for the cycle.
• Holland faced 14 different hitters in the shutout, the first time that has happened in club history.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. Master Tesfatsion is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.