Beckham ties Rays mark with 8-AB hit streak

Beckham ties Rays mark with 8-AB hit streak

OAKLAND -- Tim Beckham had an interesting day at the ballpark Thursday before and during the Rays' 7-3 win over the Athletics.

For starters, he played first base and trumping that unique event, he extended his hit streak to a team record-tying eight consecutive at-bats.

Beckham arrived at the ballpark and found his name in the lineup at first base -- a position he had never played, even as a kid. So he worked with infield coach Tom Foley before the game, and Rays manager Kevin Cash told him not to think too much.

While Cash was at it, he might as well have told him to hit like a first baseman, too. Because he did.

In Beckham's first at-bat, he homered to left off Sonny Gray to push the Rays' lead to 2-0. When he singled up the middle to start the fifth, he put himself into the Rays' record book.

Beckham's solo homer

The thread began on Monday against the Rockies when Beckham tripled in the seventh inning. He then walked in his final at-bat before a day off on Tuesday. On Wednesday, he went 5-for-5 against the Rockies, which fed into Thursday night's performance.

Ty Wigginton was the last Rays player to accomplish the feat in 2007, and Aubrey Huff also turned the trick in '04.

Beckham also tied a team record for reaching base in nine consecutive at-bats, joining B.J. Upton and Logan Forsythe.

Beckham's streak came to an end when he popped out to second to end the sixth, thereby ending a chance to reach the Major League record of 12. Walt Dropo did it for the Tigers in 1952 and Johnny Kling for the Cubs in 1902.

Prior to his hot streak, Beckham had struggled at the plate for most of the season. He has since raised his average from below .200 to .223.

"Just trying to be more short and direct to the ball," said Beckham of his adjustments. "Just trying to stay within myself and not try and do too much. Trust my routine and trust my hands. It's been working out pretty well."

As for first base, Beckham handled the position like a pro.

"Just told myself I trusted my ability," Beckham said. "Trust in my ability and be comfortable being uncomfortable. And it helped out."

Cash praised Beckham's effort.

"We kind of make light of [Beckham playing first]," Cash said. "That's not an easy thing. That's uncomfortable to go play somewhere in a big league ball game. You can imagine, there's probably some nerves and anxiety. He did a really good job of kind of keying in on Foley today. Paying attention to where he needed to be, position-wise."

Beckham smiled when asked about his day at a new position.

"It was fun," Beckham said. "It's always fun when you're winning."

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.