See who hit three home runs on Wednesday night

See who hit three home runs on Wednesday night

From Comcast SportsNet
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Adrian Beltre could not deny it. With two chances at matching a major league record four homers, he was thinking only one thing. "I'm trying to hit a home run," Beltre said. "I got a pitch to hit, too, but I couldn't do it." Beltre hit three home runs, including two in a nine-run fourth inning, and had five RBIs in the Texas Rangers' 12-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night. He had chances in the sixth and eighth to become the 17th player all-time to hit four home runs -- teammate Josh Hamilton did it May 8 at Baltimore -- and grounded out both times. Beltre hit his first homer leading off the second against former teammate Tommy Hunter. He connected again off Hunter for a two-run shot with none out in the fourth. He then hit another two-run drive with two outs while facing Kevin Gregg. "It was a fantastic night," manager Ron Washington said. "I was hoping for him to get a fourth one also, but it didn't work." Mitch Moreland hit his first grand slam in the fourth, when the Rangers sent 12 batters to the plate. He matched Beltre with a career high-tying five RBIs. The power surge supported a solid effort by Derek Holland. The left-hander pitched seven innings, giving up three runs and five hits. He struck out five and walked three. Hunter (4-8) allowed eight runs on eight hits -- three home runs -- in three-plus innings. Hunter, who spent parts of four seasons with the Rangers, was acquired by the Orioles along with first baseman Chris Davis in a 2011 trade-deadline deal for right-handed reliever Koji Uehara. "He made a lot of mistakes," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "And they make him pay for it." With his first home run, Beltre became the ninth third baseman with 10 seasons of at least 20 home runs. Beltre has had 23 multihomer games in his career. He also hit three homers in Game 4 of the AL division series against the Rays last year. The Rangers gave Holland (8-6) plenty of support with the big inning. Josh Hamilton, who matched a major league record with four home runs May 8 against the Orioles at Camden Yards, started the inning with a single and scored on Beltre's drive to left. Nelson Cruz and Michael Young followed with singles before David Murphy's run-scoring double. A walk to Geovany Soto set up Moreland's grand slam. Three batters later Beltre hit his second homer of the inning, driving in Hamilton, who walked. Beltre, who entered the game hitting .244 in his last 31 games, is hitting .462 (6 for 13) in his last three. "I've been kind of struggling for a couple of weeks," Beltre said. "I've been working in the cages trying to find a comfort zone with my feet and hands. "The last three days I stuck with something," he added. Beltre, Murphy, Young and Ian Kinsler each had more than one hit. Shortstop Elvis Andrus was the only starter without a hit for the Rangers, who improved to 13-8 in August and maintained a five-game lead over Oakland in the AL West. Murphy has five multihit games in his last six and is hitting .519 with four doubles, one home run and seven RBIs during the stretch. Since July 24 he leads the majors with 13 doubles. Moreland swung the bat well, Murphy swung the bat well, we got it up and down the lineup tonight," Washington said. Nick Markakis went 3 for 4 with three RBIs for Baltimore. NOTES: The Rangers said before the game that right-hander Yu Darvish would not make his next scheduled start on Thursday as a precaution because of tightness in his right quadriceps. Team officials said Darvish is expected to make his next start on Tuesday. ... Orioles catcher Matt Wieters left the game after the sixth inning because of a right shoulder contusion sustained on a foul tip in the second inning. X-rays were negative. ... Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Jim Thome, on the disabled list with a herniated disk, is pain free and will begin baseball activities on Thursday. ... Uehara completed a rehabilitation appearance at Triple-A Round Rock with no complications and will pitch again Friday.

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Morning tip: Switching roles help Wall-Beal dynamic in victory

Morning tip: Switching roles help Wall-Beal dynamic in victory

Towards the end of the second and third quarters, the Wizards did something different. They didn't have John Wall with the ball dribbling down the clock. They used Bradley Beal in that role instead during Thursday's win vs. the Denver Nuggets.

He picked up a foul on Will Barton with 0.8 seconds left before halftime and made both foul shots to cut what had been a 14-point deficit to 52-47. Beal was the only scorer for the Wizards in double figures with 12 of his game-high 26 points. 

"It was part of the game plan a little bit," said Wall, who had 15 points two nights after scoring a career-high 52 on 31 shots in a loss to the Orlando Magic. "Brad had it going a little bit. He had opportunities. When I had it going they'd trap me in pick-and-rolls, he'd make a pass and other guys would get wide-open shots. He did a great job. He was the one that helped us get a win."

The Wizards (8-13) began to assert themselves with 1:29 left in the third. Beal's jump shot gave them a 75-69 lead. He finished 4-for-7 on threes and made six trips to the foul line as he made all of them. 

Often, Wall has the ball in these situations but the Wizards created more room for both players by changing up their attack. When the ball was reversed to Wall, he could attack full speed with the dribble, draw the defense and kick it out to Beal. It also allowed Beal to create, too.

Wall only had five assists, but he grabbed seven rebounds and three steals. Beal added five assists.

"I'm always going to take a win over points any day," Wall said. "That's the most important to me. I'm happy we got the win, and hopefully we can build on it."

[RELATED: Brooks on Wizards' effort following Wall's comments]

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Need to Know: Redskins looking for consistency from Preston Smith

Need to Know: Redskins looking for consistency from Preston Smith

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, December 9, two days before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Practice 12:05; Jay Gruden and news conference and open locker room after practice approx. 2:00

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 10; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 15; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 23

Injuries of note vs. Cardinals:
Out:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Baker (ankle), G Shawn Lauvao (groin)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot),
Thursday injury report

Around Redskins Park

—The Redskins’ third-down defense is the worst in the NFL in a long time. They are giving up first downs on 48 percent of opponents’ third downs. Since 2002 only one team, the 2011 Chargers, has been worse over the course of a full season. The Redskins have a chance to improve in the last four games of the season. Their remaining opponents rank 15th, 22nd, 26th, and 27th in converting third downs on offense. So, while the damage is done perhaps they can avoid historically bad territory.

—Perhaps one of the reasons why the Redskins haven’t done well on third down is because Preston Smith, a player they were counting on to generate pass pressure and rack up sacks, isn't getting that done. He has 3.5 sacks on the year, two of them coming into one game. What are they looking for out of Smith? “Consistency is the truest measure of performance,” said defensive coordinator Joe Barry. “You have got to show up every single week . . . Preston is giving great effort, he’s trying. He just has got to show up in the statistic column.”

—Barry was candid in admitting that they were taken by surprise when the Cardinals snapped the ball on the fourth and one play from their own 34 in the fourth quarter. “I think everyone was a little shocked that the ball actually was snapped and they ran a play, but that’s football,” Barry said. The center’s hand is on the ball, ball is ready, the ball can be snapped, we have got to be ready to execute.” Should the season go south from here that play will be remembered as the turning point.

—Although whether or not the season goes south will largely be dependent on the play of Kirk Cousins, he doesn’t think about the pressure. “I just go about my business. I think you take it one game at a time, that’s the best way to manage it, and just enjoy the process,” he said. “We’ll see where we are in a few weeks but I can’t play the game today, I can’t play next week’s game today. All I can do today is prepare and go to practice and have a great practice, and I thought today I had a great practice and that’s a good step.”

—Jay Gruden wants to see the defense improve in two specific areas in addition to third downs. “Turnovers the last couple of weeks and red zone,” he said. “Those are three big time areas of concern . . . We’ve been lacking in all three of those categories of late.” They have had just one takeaway in their last three games and in their last five games teams have punched it into the end zone on 14 of 17 red zone opportunities (82.3%).

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A little more left arm use by Reed on this catch. #Redskins

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