Adrian Beltre strikes again vs. the A’s

Every time the A’s come to Rangers Ballpark and stumble, Adrian Beltre’s performance manages to add a little sting to the process, doesn’t it? The A’s have lost 13 of their past 15 to the Rangers — including eight of their last nine in Arlington — and Beltre always seems to be front and center in doing damage. He went the opposite way with a two-run homer off Tommy Milone in the fourth inning of Wednesday’s 4-1 Rangers win. Since the start of the 2006 season, Beltre has homered 20 times against the A’s, most in the majors. He entered the night with 69 RBIs against Oakland, tied for fifth among active players against the A’s.

I’d imagine it’s hard for A’s fans to watch Beltre and not think of him spurning the A’s after the 2009 and 2010 seasons, when they made a hard push to sign the free agent. He opted for a one-year deal with Boston for 2010, then landed a six-year $96 million contract from division-rival Texas before the 2011 campaign.

And Beltre didn’t just hurt the A’s with his bat Wednesday, either. He made a terrific back-handed play in the eighth, grabbing Anthony Recker’s grounder along the third-base line and making a difficult throw to second that nearly resulted in a double play. He’s a special player, and one who always manages to haunt the A’s.

–The silver lining from the A’s loss? I thought Tommy Milone handled things pretty well in his first start against the Rangers. He went seven innings and gave up four runs, but all the damage came in the fourth, and if Josh Donaldson makes that play to get Craig Gentry at first, it could have been a different ballgame. Milone struck out Josh Hamilton on a curve in the first, and Hamilton’s two hits off Milone were an infield job in the fourth and a harmless single in the fifth.

“Stay low and away,” Milone said of his strategy against Hamilton. “That’s why I tried using the curve ball a little more. Keep it awayfrom where he can hit it.”

Milone prepared for the Rangers by watching video of the Royals’ Bruce Chen and Detroit reliever Duane Below, two lefties who pitched well against Texas earlier this season (Below pitched an extended outing from the bullpen). Milone thinks both pitchers are similar in style to him.

–Time to close the book on one long day. My early-morning flight out of Anaheim got canceled, so I had to scramble to find another flight and spent three hours wedged in a middle seat, trying to sleep and having little success doing so. … This is a quick trip to Texas — two games in less than a 24-hour span. Forget the traveling nightmare, the biggest tragedy of this trip is I won’t get to eat at my favorite Arlington restaurant — Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen. It’s a regional chain, but a very good one. I strongly recommend …

Joe Stiglich