arlington, texas — Adrian Beltre was thinking about the possibility of being part of a no-hitter throughout the game.
The Texas Rangers third baseman didn’t think about hitting for the cycle until his final at-bat.
Beltre completed his second career cycle with a seventh-inning single, only minutes after Texas left-hander Matt Harrison lost his no-hit bid in the Rangers’ 8-0 win over the Minnesota Twins on Friday night.
So just what was the bigger story? Beltre’s cycle or Harrison allowing only two singles over eight innings for his career-best 15th victory.
“Harrison, definitely,” Beltre said. “He was terrific. He came out throwing strikes, hitting the corners, using the defense. He’s been solid all year. We expect to have a good outing from him, but today was something special.”
Harrison (15-7) didn’t allow a hit until Trevor Plouffe lined a solid single to left with two outs in the seventh. That came right after left fielder David Murphy made a diving catch fully extended on Ryan Doumit’s sinking liner to keep the no-hit bid intact, though Murphy had no chance to get to the next ball hit his way.
“That was an unbelievable play,” said Harrison, who pumped his fist when Murphy made the catch. “I guess I got a little too excited right there. I still feel like I made a pretty good pitch to (Plouffe).”
After shaking off catcher Luis Martinez calling for a fastball, Harrison threw a changeup. Plouffe got enough bat on the ball to knock it over the infield for the Twins’ first hit.
Fans stood and applauded Harrison on the All-Star’s effort. Among them in the front row was Rangers president Nolan Ryan, the Hall of Fame pitcher who threw two of his seven career no-hitters while pitching for Texas.
Beltre’s cycle came two nights after he hit three homers in a game against Baltimore.
After an RBI triple in the first inning against the Twins, his first three-base hit in two years, Beltre had an RBI double to cap a five-run second inning that put the Rangers up 6-0.
Beltre led off the fifth with his 24th homer, his third consecutive game with a homer. His single in the seventh inning gave him the cycle.
Over the past four games, Beltre is 12-for-18 with five homers, three doubles and a triple.
The other cycle for Beltre also came at Rangers Ballpark, when he was playing for Seattle on Sept. 1, 2008. Interestingly, he had three of his hits that night off Harrison.
Beltre knows it would have probably been impossible for a cycle off Harrison on this night.
“No chance,” he said. “Maybe one, one little blooper.”
Beltre’s cycle is the sixth cycle in Rangers history. The last was Bengie Molina’s on July 16, 2010, at Boston, which was also the last time an AL player hit for the cycle. It was the fourth cycle in the majors this season. Arizona’s Aaron Hill did it twice and Scott Hairston had one for the New York Mets.