Rangers finish below .500 for only second time in last nine years
By T.R. Sullivan
ARLINGTON -- Adrian Beltre smacked one more hit and received one more standing ovation. Nomar Mazara, down to his last at-bat, had a two-run double to put him over the century mark in RBIs in his second big league season.
Those two big moments stood out during another loss to end a disappointing season on Sunday afternoon at Globe Life Park. The Rangers closed the 2017 season with a 5-2 loss to the Athletics, finishing with a record of 78-84 and tied with the Mariners for third place in the American League West.
This is only the Rangers' second losing season in the last nine years.
Beltre was in the lineup for the first time since Tuesday. He was shut down because of the strained left hamstring he has been dealing with all of September but wanted to play one more game.
"It's always nice to come to the field knowing you are going to play that day," Beltre said. "I wanted to play a couple more innings for the fans and show my appreciation for what they have done for me and this team. I wanted to come out and play a couple innings and go home knowing I finished on the field."
Beltre had just two at-bats. He struck out in the second inning against Athletics starter Daniel Mengden but lined a single up the middle in the fifth. It was the Rangers' first hit of the game.
Beltre was replaced by Joey Gallo and walked off to a standing ovation from the fans and both dugouts. It didn't end until he came out of the dugout for a curtain call.
"I wanted an opportunity for our fans to see him one more time this year and be recognized just for who he is and how much he is loved by these fans and his teammates," manager Jeff Banister said. "For us to be able to take Adrian off the field and for our fans to be allowed to show their appreciation and for Adrian to show his love for the fans, it was fitting."
Mazara went into the game with 99 RBIs and badly wanted one more. He was 0-for-3, but the Rangers mounted a two-out rally in the eighth when Will Middlebrooks doubled and Delino DeShields beat out a bunt. Mazara then lined a double down the right-field line that scored both runners, giving him 101 for the season.
"As soon as [DeShields] bunted that ball, my mind was completely changed," Mazara said. "I hadn't been that locked-in in a while, so as soon as he bunted that ball, I said it was huge for me. You could tell that he wanted me to drive that run in, so I thanked him for that. It feels good after that."
One player did not get a happy ending. Elvis Andrus went 1-for-3 and finished with a .297 average instead of getting to .300 for the second straight season.
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.