No one in the history of the Dominican Republic has won more games than Bartolo Colon. And the ageless right-hander is two wins from Latin American immortality.
Colon won his 244th career game Monday night after holding the Royals to three runs on hits over six innings. The Rangers' bullpen (Jake Diekman, Tony Barnette and Keone Kela) did the rest with three perfect innings to ensure the historic 6-3 victory at Kauffman Stadium.
Colon snapped a tie with Hall of Famer Juan Marichal to claim the record. He needs two more wins to break Dennis Martinez's all-time record for wins by a Latin American native. Colon didn't have his best stuff, but he picked off a runner at first base and got out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth with a 6-4-3 double play.
"I feel happy, of course, to pass a Hall of Famer," said Colon, who improved to 4-4. "Marichal was the one but now that I have 244, I know Dennis Martinez is there. If God gives me the health and the time, I'm ready to pass him and be the Latin with more wins."
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Five thoughts from Monday's 6-3 win:
1. Beltre milestone tracker — Adrian Beltre's three-run homer in the third inning staked the Rangers with a 5-0 lead. It's his 465th career homer, tying him for No. 34 all-time with Miguel Cabrera and Dave Winfield. It is his 147th home run as a third baseman for the Rangers, which passes Dean Palmer for the club record. He now has 1,664 RBI, which is three shy of tying No. 26 Sammy Sosa. He played in career-game 2,857 to pass Robin Yount into 15th all-time.
2. Double D — Delino DeShields reached twice with infield singles, including a run-scoring, two-out bunt single towards second that provided a huge insurance run in the eighth. DeShields now has 14 infield hits this season. He has a four-game hit streak and 10 hits in his past seven games.
"I just thought it was a good time. If I could get it past the pitcher and the first baseman came off the base, I knew that's a tough play, especially with the way I run," he said. "They walked Guzy [Ronald Guzman], and I was like, 'why not? People probably don't even expect it.' I think I took some people by surprise."
3. Not a surprise — You know what's no longer a surprise? DeShields making impressive catches all over center field. He did it again four times Monday night. His ability to cover a lot of ground has always been there but he's added great reads, fast jumps and precision routes to the mix, which are helping him get to balls that many probably can't. He's making most of them look routine. They are not.
"He's learning to read the ball off the bat better," manager Jeff Banister said. "He's more comfortable. He knows where to position himself. He's more aware of pitch selection now. He's the captain of the outfield out there. He's communicating with them and taking charge."
4. Elvis' '18 Comeback Special — Elvis Andrus was back in the lineup for the first time since a pitch off his right elbow on April 11 sent him to the disabled list for the first time in his career. He was 0-for-3 with two walks and a run scored. He looked smooth at shortstop, including a barehanded scoop and throw on a slow roller that nearly got the runner at first.
5. Choomendous — Shin-Soo Choo was on base all five times Monday, including a leadoff homer in the first. It's the 25th leadoff homer of his career and 13th with the Rangers (second this season), which is second-most all-time behind Ian Kinsler's 29. He extended his on-base streak to 32 games, which is the second-longest this season to the Phillies' Odubel Herrera (40 games). The last time a Rangers' player had a streak this long was Andrus' 32-game stretch in 2012, which is tied (with five others) for the 19th longest such streak in club history. Choo is three games from tying his career-long stretch set in September 2012 to April 2013.