Beltre, Strausborger Homer as Rangers Beat Rays 5-3

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Adrian Beltre's 406th career home run was no big deal to the 18-year veteran.

But Ryan Strausborger's first homer, in his seventh major league game, was part of a dream come true.

Beltre's tiebreaking homer in the third inning and Strausborger's insurance run the next spoiled Drew Smyly's return, and the Texas Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-3 on Sunday afternoon.

"It was awesome," Strausborger said. "It was hard not to run around the bases with a smile on my face, but I couldn't help but smile when they all greeted me at the dugout.

"Not necessarily hitting a home run for your first time in the big leagues, but getting to the big leagues, was the dream."

For the 27-year-old Strausborger, the call came Aug. 4, when the Rangers selected his contract from Triple-A Round Rock. He was playing in his sixth minor league season.

The right-handed batter was in the lineup against left-hander Smyly, who had been on the disabled list since May because of a torn labrum in his shoulder.

"I felt like it was my first game all over again," Smyly said.

The Rangers treated him roughly. After Tampa Bay took leads of 1-0 and 3-2, Texas came back to tie the game 3-3 before the long balls finished the scoring.

Smyly (0-2) lasted four innings. He gave up seven hits, two walks and five earned runs.

The Rangers swept the three-game series and have won four straight games and seven in a row at home.

"The last 2 weeks we got a new bullpen, we got (Mike) Napoli back and we got a couple of guys on the bench that give us a better lineup," Beltre said.

He wouldn't say the moves made Texas a playoff-caliber team.

"We always have," he said with a smile.

Yovani Gallardo (9-9) gave up three runs in the first two innings but blanked the Rays over the next 3 1-3 for his second straight win. He allowed 11 hits and a walk and struck out one.

Sam Freeman relieved Gallardo with one out and a runner at second base in the sixth and retired both batters he faced.

Shawn Tolleson pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his 23rd save in 24 chances.

Beltre drove in two runs, and Strausborger was 3 for 4.

"Young man had a big day," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "This is a young man that is learning how to compete in the big leagues and contributing. In the middle of it. He made a huge impact today."

The Rays' Kevin Kiermaier also was 3 for 4, including a run-scoring double in the second, and stole a base.

Tampa Bay had taken a 1-0 lead in the first inning on James Loney's run-scoring single.

Shin-Soo Choo's double and Beltre's sacrifice fly drove in Texas' two runs in the first.

Kiermaier's double down the left field line and John Jaso's single delivered two second-inning runs to give the Rays a 3-2 lead.

Delino DeShields' bloop single later that inning tied the game 3-3.


Strausborger also had his first three-hit game — he had just 2 hits in his first 14 at-bats. Napoli, reacquired from Boston on Aug. 7, had a third-inning double, his first hit as a Ranger since a home run Oct. 1, 2012, at Oakland.


LHP Derek Holland (strained shoulder) threw Sunday and could be ready to come off the DL for the first time since April 11.


LHP Cole Hamels (6-8, 3.86) missed a start Thursday because of a sore left groin but has been cleared for the opener of a three-game set vs. Seattle on Monday. Hamels' most recent start was a 4-3 loss on Aug. 7, when three Mariners hit home runs.

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