Adrian Beltre made it back to the starting lineup on Monday night in Baltimore, but the team didn't feel he was quite ready to play the field.
It turned out to be a very wise decision. Beltre was the designated hitter, which left third base to Brandon Snyder on a night destined to be the best of Snyder's brief major league career.
Snyder singled in a pair of runs in the second inning to get the Rangers on the board, a welcome change after a long weekend of failure with runners in scoring position. Snyder was just getting warmed up. He hit a three-run homer in the sixth to stake Matt Harrison to a 7-0 lead and then singled in one more run when the Rangers turned the game into a rout in the ninth inning.
That made six RBIs for Snyder and three hits with runners in scoring position. The Rangers were 8-for-15 in those situations over the course of the evening, which means they probably would have found a way to win the game even without Snyder's heroics. Getting them made life much easier, though.
Any team would have been surprised to see that kind of game from Snyder, but the Orioles must have been particularly shocked. Snyder was their property from 2006 until last year, but managed just 37 plate appearances for the big league club over that period. The Orioles were pretty desperate for offense in those years, but Snyder wasn't doing enough in the minors to demand an extended shot even under those circumstances.
Snyder probably won't get too many more opportunities to better his big night, but you don't get through a 162-game season without a few unexpected contributions carrying you when other things are sputtering. Snyder's night probably won't be remembered much when October rolls around, but the wins count just as much in early May.