Adrian Beltre is absolutely on fire with the bat and appeared ready to burn his way to baseball history and major league baseball’s iconic 3,000-hit milestone this weekend.
The Texas Rangers third baseman singled in the fifth inning Friday night, his second hit of the night, against the Baltimore Orioles to give him 2,998 for his career. The hit drove in Nomar Mazara, who was on base after one of his three doubles at Globe Life Park in Arlington.
But Beltre popped out in the bottom of the seventh inning, a 1-2-3 inning, that left Beltre still two short and delaying a rush to history Friday.
The future Hall of Famer finished the night 2 for 4 and with five games left on the homestand. The Rangers won the game handily 8-2.
Beltre was retired in the first inning Friday on a hard-hit ball to second base, but he got hit No. 2,997 in the third with a run-scoring single to center field to score Mazara. That gave the Rangers a 5-0 lead.
Both hits came off Orioles starter Chris Tillman.
Beltre’s RBI single in the fifth made it 6-0 and he later scored as the Rangers built an 8-0 lead. The Orioles got a run back on Jonathan Schoop’s home run in the top of the sixth and scored again in the eighth.
A 1-2-3 Rangers inning in the bottom of the sixth prevented Beltre from having a chance to get to the plate in the inning.
Beltre was the Rangers’ second batter in the bottom of the seventh, with some more Rangers runs probably needed to get Beltre another at-bat after that.
After Mazara grounded out to start the seventh, Orioles manager Buck Showalter — his team trailing 8-1 — made a pitching change. Right-hander Mychal Givens almost hit Beltre with a change-up inside, then got Beltre to pop up to first baseman Chris Davis.
The Rangers needed a big inning in the eighth to get Beltre another at-bat, barring a huge Orioles rally to force the Rangers to bat in the ninth.
Beltre and the Rangers face the Orioles again on Saturday and Sunday before opening a series at home Monday against the Seattle Mariners.