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See who hit three home runs on Wednesday night

See who hit three home runs on Wednesday night

From Comcast SportsNet
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Adrian Beltre could not deny it. With two chances at matching a major league record four homers, he was thinking only one thing. "I'm trying to hit a home run," Beltre said. "I got a pitch to hit, too, but I couldn't do it." Beltre hit three home runs, including two in a nine-run fourth inning, and had five RBIs in the Texas Rangers' 12-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night. He had chances in the sixth and eighth to become the 17th player all-time to hit four home runs -- teammate Josh Hamilton did it May 8 at Baltimore -- and grounded out both times. Beltre hit his first homer leading off the second against former teammate Tommy Hunter. He connected again off Hunter for a two-run shot with none out in the fourth. He then hit another two-run drive with two outs while facing Kevin Gregg. "It was a fantastic night," manager Ron Washington said. "I was hoping for him to get a fourth one also, but it didn't work." Mitch Moreland hit his first grand slam in the fourth, when the Rangers sent 12 batters to the plate. He matched Beltre with a career high-tying five RBIs. The power surge supported a solid effort by Derek Holland. The left-hander pitched seven innings, giving up three runs and five hits. He struck out five and walked three. Hunter (4-8) allowed eight runs on eight hits -- three home runs -- in three-plus innings. Hunter, who spent parts of four seasons with the Rangers, was acquired by the Orioles along with first baseman Chris Davis in a 2011 trade-deadline deal for right-handed reliever Koji Uehara. "He made a lot of mistakes," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "And they make him pay for it." With his first home run, Beltre became the ninth third baseman with 10 seasons of at least 20 home runs. Beltre has had 23 multihomer games in his career. He also hit three homers in Game 4 of the AL division series against the Rays last year. The Rangers gave Holland (8-6) plenty of support with the big inning. Josh Hamilton, who matched a major league record with four home runs May 8 against the Orioles at Camden Yards, started the inning with a single and scored on Beltre's drive to left. Nelson Cruz and Michael Young followed with singles before David Murphy's run-scoring double. A walk to Geovany Soto set up Moreland's grand slam. Three batters later Beltre hit his second homer of the inning, driving in Hamilton, who walked. Beltre, who entered the game hitting .244 in his last 31 games, is hitting .462 (6 for 13) in his last three. "I've been kind of struggling for a couple of weeks," Beltre said. "I've been working in the cages trying to find a comfort zone with my feet and hands. "The last three days I stuck with something," he added. Beltre, Murphy, Young and Ian Kinsler each had more than one hit. Shortstop Elvis Andrus was the only starter without a hit for the Rangers, who improved to 13-8 in August and maintained a five-game lead over Oakland in the AL West. Murphy has five multihit games in his last six and is hitting .519 with four doubles, one home run and seven RBIs during the stretch. Since July 24 he leads the majors with 13 doubles. Moreland swung the bat well, Murphy swung the bat well, we got it up and down the lineup tonight," Washington said. Nick Markakis went 3 for 4 with three RBIs for Baltimore. NOTES: The Rangers said before the game that right-hander Yu Darvish would not make his next scheduled start on Thursday as a precaution because of tightness in his right quadriceps. Team officials said Darvish is expected to make his next start on Tuesday. ... Orioles catcher Matt Wieters left the game after the sixth inning because of a right shoulder contusion sustained on a foul tip in the second inning. X-rays were negative. ... Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Jim Thome, on the disabled list with a herniated disk, is pain free and will begin baseball activities on Thursday. ... Uehara completed a rehabilitation appearance at Triple-A Round Rock with no complications and will pitch again Friday.

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Best moments from Wizards' loss to Hornets, including Oubre and Beal's big dunks

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USA Today Sports

Best moments from Wizards' loss to Hornets, including Oubre and Beal's big dunks

Here are the best plays or moments from the Washington Wizards' 129-124 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night...

1. The Wizards couldn't do much to stop Dwight Howard in this one, but he did have one of his shots blocked. It was by the rim, though.

Watch Howard rise for an alley-oop, only to be rejected by the rim. 

That was about the only thing Howard did wrong. He finished with 26 points and 13 rebounds.

[RELATED: MORRIS STANDS UP FOR MEEK MILL]

2. Bradley Beal didn't have a great shooting night, as he finished 7-for-22 despite dropping 22 points. He had a few nice dunks in the first half including this one:

3. John Wall had a strong game with 31 points and 11 assists on 13-of-26 shooting. This was his best assist, a thread-the-needle dish to Markieff Morris.

4. Here's another dunk from Beal, this one with two hands for good measure:

5. This was the best dunk of the night. Kelly Oubre, Jr. caught the Hornets sleeping with a nice putback slam. 

The Wizards closed their road trip a disappointing 1-2, but at least the game was entertaining.

[RELATED: BEAL'S BIG MILESTONE BY THE NUMBERS]

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Why now? Barry Trotz explains his decision to reunite Ovechkin and Backstrom

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USA TODAY Sports

Why now? Barry Trotz explains his decision to reunite Ovechkin and Backstrom

Barry Trotz did seemingly everything he could to avoid it, but secretly he was thinking just as much about reuniting Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom as you were. He surprised everyone on Wednesday by putting the two back together on the top line and the move had instant results as the Capitals battled to a 5-2 win over the Ottawa Senators.

A 4-1 loss to the Calgary Flames on Monday highlighted the team’s top-six struggles at even strength. Ovechkin, Backstrom, T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov all were struggling to produce at the level the Caps need in order to be successful.

You can talk about wanting to avoid making the team too top-heavy all we want, but in the end, being top-heavy is better than not producing at all.

RELATED: LISTEN TO THE LATEST EPISODE OF THE CAPS EXTRA PODCAST!

So with the team’s top players still struggling, the talk after the Calgary game all focused on whether Trotz would consider putting Ovechkin and Backstrom back together, a combination that has been incredibly successful for the Caps in the past.

Trotz, however, seemed hesitant to make the move.

The lines remained unchanged at practice. When asked why not reunite Ovechkin and Backstrom, he told reporters after Tuesday’s practice that he didn’t feel like it. He told the Sports Junkies on Wednesday that Ovechkin can be difficult to play with and that it was hard to find matches for him.

And yet, when the players took to the ice for warmups on Wednesday prior to the game against Ottawa, Ovechkin and Backstrom were together again.

“I've been thinking about it for a while,” Trotz said.

It is obvious why Trotz would put Ovechkin and Backstrom back together. Their chemistry was evident in Wednesday’s game. But Trotz has avoided making that move up to now through the first quarter of the season.

“[Ovechkin] demands such presence,” Trotz said. “He's the greatest goal-scorer in his generation, I've said that many times, and you need a very intelligent player and you have to get used to playing with him because when he gets into those areas … he can score in those tight windows which any other players can't. It's as much getting used to playing with someone else and all that.”

MORE CAPITALS: 4 REASONS WHY THE CAPS BEAT THE SENATORS

“By playing [Evgeny Kuznetsov] for such a long time with [Ovechkin] too,” Trotz added, “It opens up some windows so that we have those options.”

Basically, Trotz’s reasoning is that players need to adjust and learn how to play with Ovechkin. He always knew he could go back to Ovechkin-Backstrom, but it is much harder to start with Ovechkin-Backstrom and split them up out of necessity.

As Trotz would later put it on Wednesday, “If you love something you set it free, if it comes back it was meant to be.”

Clearly, it was meant to be as there’s just no denying that when Ovechkin and Backstrom are together, their play ascends to another level.