ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Michael Young, the Texas Rangers player who waited the longest for days like Tuesday, says that clubhouse celebrations never get old.
He and most of the Rangers have quickly become veterans at how to spray a bottle of Brut, a tallboy of Budweiser, and, in the Rangers' case, a bottle of ginger ale.
Adrian Beltre, though, had only one celebration under his belt before joining the Rangers before the 2011 season. He got a second a few weeks ago as another team helped hand the Rangers the division title.
On Tuesday, the third baseman was largely responsible for yet another.
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Beltre swatted solo home runs in his first three at-bats, Ian Kinsler started the game with a homer, and Matt Harrison and four relievers locked up Tampa Bay for a 4-3 victory that closed out the American League Division Series in four games.
The Rangers will have a chance to defend their AL pennant beginning this weekend in the championship series. The first game will be Saturday, either at New York or at Rangers Ballpark against Detroit.
No one seemed to care after the Rangers won their fifth straight postseason game at Tropicana Field. They were too busy spraying each other with assorted beverages and heaping praise on Beltre, who did a better job deflecting credit than he did champagne.
"We didn't want to go back to Texas," for a fifth game, Beltre said. "That's what we did today. Today was one of those days that our pitching staff picked us up. We know we've got a good offense."
Beltre became the sixth player in baseball history to hit three home runs in a playoff game. Babe Ruth did it twice, and Adam Kennedy was the last to do it, in 2002.
Beltre started the second with a deep blast to left field off Jeremy Hellickson, went to the opposite field with one out in the second, and hit another leadoff shot in the seventh off rookie Matt Moore.
"You know, it is just one of those days," Beltre said. "The first two games, they were tough on me. I was trying to find a little point where I was not feeling right at home plate.
"Today in batting practice I felt a lot better, and it happens today I was able to put a good swing on pitches over the plate and connect well."
Each homer, including Kinsler's on the second pitch of the game, was needed as the Rays never went away. They scored twice against Harrison, including their first run when Sean Rodriguez ran through catcher Mike Napoli with two outs in the second inning.
Napoli was fine and said that the play was clean even though Rodriguez smacked him in the throat.
Harrison departed after only five innings. He gave way to Game 2 starter Derek Holland after striking out nine and logging 97 pitches. Manager Ron Washington used Holland for four outs, Mike Adams for two, Alexi Ogando for three in the eighth and Neftali Feliz for the final three.
The Rays scored once with one out against Feliz and twice sent the winning run to the plate, but he got Matt Joyce to pop out and Desmond Jennings to ground into a fielder's choice to start the celebration.
"Every time we do it, it gets better," Young said. "Adrian just had an absolutely monster day. It's an incredible group of guys. We support each other, we have each others' back. We go out and play extremely hard."
The Rangers will have today off after arriving at DFW around 10 p.m. Tuesday. They will work out Thursday at Rangers Ballpark ahead of Friday's workout day for the ALCS.
Young said that a new player will likely rise to the occasion in Game 1. In Game 4 of the ALDS on Tuesday, it was Beltre's turn.
"There's no word for that," said shortstop Elvis Andrus, who made the final out for a second straight ALDS. "He basically won the game for us."