Beltre gets another crack at the Oakland pitching staff Tuesday night, looking to continue his longball binge and help the visiting Texas Rangers move closer to the postseason in the opener of a three-game set.
The third baseman has seven homers in his last eight games for Texas (88-65), which is closing in on a second straight AL West title. Beltre homered three times in the final two games of a series with Oakland (69-84) from Sept. 10-11 to start this torrid stretch.
He’s got 13 RBIs and a .405 average in his last nine games, and he went deep in victories Saturday and Sunday in Seattle.
“We’re confident we can do the job, but we’re not done yet,” Beltre told the Rangers’ official website. “We still have to keep winning.”
Beltre could be in for a challenge Tuesday since he’s 2 for 16 in his career against Rich Harden(notes) (4-3, 4.76 ERA), Oakland’s scheduled starter. One of those hits, though, was a home run, and Harden has served up six in his last four starts.
The Rangers have won six of seven as they try to maintain their lead over second-place Los Angeles. They are hoping to clinch the West before a season-ending three-game set in Anaheim.
“We haven’t blinked. There is baseball to be played and we’re going to play our game,” said Michael Young(notes), two hits shy of reaching 200 in a sixth season and first since 2007. “So far, so good. We just want to keep it up.”
Texas is 11-5 against Oakland this year. Young has 19 RBIs in the season series while Beltre has seven homers and 15 RBIs.
The left-hander is 3-0 with a 1.65 ERA over his last four outings after limiting Cleveland to one run in seven innings Wednesday in a 9-1 victory.
Holland will square off with Harden for the second time this year after pitching a four-hitter in a 6-0 home win July 7. Harden lasted five innings and yielded five runs.
The A’s right-hander also struggled against Texas on Aug. 14, going four innings and allowing four runs but not getting a decision in a 7-6 home loss.
Harden is 0-1 with a 6.97 ERA in his last four starts - all Oakland losses. He gave up three runs over 5 1-3 innings Wednesday in a 4-1 defeat to the Angels.
Oakland will begin its final home series as it wraps up a homestand against playoff contenders. The A’s lost two of three to the Angels before splitting four games with AL Central champion Detroit.
The Rangers are 17-23 in one-run games and the A’s are 18-24 for the AL’s worst marks.