The one moment from a lopsided, but historic, game Tuesday that generated the most attention came in the second inning.
Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez was facing his good buddy, former teammate and fellow talker of trash Adrian Beltre, and made the Texas Rangers third baseman look really foolish on a curveball.
Hernandez doubled over on the mound, consumed by laughter, before pointing Beltre to the dugout.
It took mlb.com about, oh, 30 seconds to throw something on the web, and various tweets and retweets essentially went as follows:
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Multiple laughing emojis and exclamation points.
“He enjoyed that like I assumed he would,” Beltre said Wednesday.
Hernandez, though, didn’t laugh when Beltre bounced into a double play to end a four-run third, and he definitely wasn’t laughing when Beltre took Hernandez deep in the sixth for the final run in an 11-4 Rangers win.
Neither was Beltre, who instead of seeking smack-talking revenge simply put his head down and circled the bases as he usually does.
It was a show of respect for a friend who is struggling through the worst season of his All-Star career. Maybe that should have gone viral, too.
“It was a different situation because normally when we face each other the games are close,” Beltre said. “I couldn’t do that in that situation. We talked last night. He expected me to do it and asked me why I didn’t do it. I couldn’t do it. If it was a close game, yeah, I would do whatever. In that situation I’m going to respect him and his teammates.”
Hernandez surrendered all 11 runs, matching his career-high, in six innings the night after the Mariners used seven of their eight relievers. He was taking one for the team, so to speak.
Afterward, a Mariners beat writer said that he had never seen Hernandez as down as he was Tuesday. He’s a former Cy Young winner who can’t figure out how to reverse course in a season that has seen him post a 5.73 ERA and move to the brink of losing his spot in the rotation.
Hernandez, who is owed $27 million next season in the final year of his contract, doesn’t have the power stuff he once did.
“He knows how to pitch,” Beltre said. “He’s just going through a funk like we all do. He’s a fighter. He likes to be out there. He likes to compete. Hopefully he can find a way to get out of it.
“It’s unusual to see him like that. Seeing the way he is right now the last four weeks or so is not him. I want the best for him. He’s a great guy. Besides when we face him, I want him to beat everybody. He’s a really good, close friend.”
Beltre was the designated hitter Wednesday afternoon as the Rangers beat the Mariners 11-7 behind two homers and four RBIs from Joey Gallo. The Beltre home run against Hernandez was just his fourth hit in the previous six games.
It helped back Bartolo Colon en route to career win No. 246, the most in MLB history by a pitcher from Latin America. Beltre’s glove also helped Colon out of a third-inning jam and continued a recent stretch of stellar defense.
There have been multiple instances when he has made his signature play — charging in from third on a slow roller or bunt, bare-handing the ball, and throwing to first as he falls to the ground.
Beltre also made a rare play Tuesday as he covered second base for a 6-5 putout with the Rangers playing an infield shift to the right side of second base.
“You saw that, huh?” Beltre said.
His legs are healthy enough to allow him to make those plays.
“My legs are fine. My swing is the one ... ,” Beltre said. “Physically, I’m feeling better.”