Adrian Beltre Carries Rangers to Walk-Off Victory, Drops Magic Number to Five: Fan's View

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Adrian Beltre is without a doubt having an MVP caliber year, the only problem is that Miguel Cabrera is staring the Triple Crown in the face and Mike Trout is having one of the best rookie seasons in the history of the game while carrying his team all season long. That is without mentioning that the Texas Rangers have another candidate who is arguably as worthy in Josh Hamilton.

Beltre once again had his show on display against the Athletics on Monday night. The Rangers came into the game with a three game lead in the West and were hoping to have another great September outing from Derek Holland. Unfortunately, Holland did not have it and was gone from the game after allowing three runs in only three innings of work.

That meant that this game was in the hands of the Rangers' bullpen for the remainder of the night and they combined for six innings of one-run baseball. Roy Oswalt was excellent going two innings and only allowing one hit. He was followed up by Robbie Ross who was the one Rangers' reliever to struggle on the night, allowing one run on three hits in the sixth inning. Ross was followed by a perfect inning from Koji Uehara and a scoreless inning from Mike Adams.

The top of the ninth started with the score 4-4 and Ron Washington decided to go to Joe Nathan in a tie game at home. With no such thing as a save opportunity at home in a tie game, Washington wanted to keep the game tied and give his offense the opportunity to take care of things in the bottom of the inning. Nathan came on and was not quite as dominant as he can be, but he got the job done with only one walk and striking out two batters. That kept the game tied and gave the Rangers their opportunity in the bottom of the ninth.

Mitch Moreland led off the ninth with a single which was followed up by another single from Ian Kinsler. Elvis Andrus then moved Moreland and Kinsler into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. That brought up Josh Hamilton who was back in the lineup and had already homered once in the game. Hamilton was walked to load the bases and that meant that Beltre would once again have his opportunity.

Beltre had already doubled in the game as well as tying the game up in the bottom of the seventh with a two-run homer. This time he laced a single up the middle to score Craig Gentry who had ran for Moreland and the Rangers had the victory as well as a five game lead in the West. Beltre finished the night 3 for 5 with 3 RBIs and a run scored.

Beltre was in obvious pain during the game which could most noticeably be seen after his double in the fifth inning and after the walk-off single when he clutched his stomach before being mobbed. He expects to be able to play through the stomach pain that has bothered him over the past week, but it is obvious that he is playing in pain. He is about as competitive as a ballplayer comes and there is no question that he will continue to give his team everything he possibly can. This is Adrian Beltre's year and while he may not be strongly considered for the American League MVP, Monday night was another clear indicator that he is not only the Rangers' team leader, but their MVP. You just can't have the 2012 Texas Rangers without Adrian Beltre and he is going to make sure it stays that way, no matter how much pain he might have to play through.

John Bowman is a lifelong baseball and Texas Rangers fan that loves to ponder the deeper aspects of the game. Some of his first baseball memories involve Arlington Stadium nachos, Charlie Hough's knuckleball, dirt on Pete Incaviglia's uniform and the voices of Mark Holtz and Eric Nadel as he fell asleep.

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