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09/02/08 12:39 AM EST
Beltre hits for cycle against Rangers
Mariners third baseman has five hits, scores five times
By Jim Street / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- When Adrian Beltre stepped into the batter's box in the eighth inning Monday night, the Mariners third baseman had no idea he needed a triple to become the fourth player in franchise history to hit for the cycle. But even if he did, he probably would have laughed it off. In his first 520 official at-bats this season, Beltre had 84 singles, 28 doubles, 24 home runs and no triples. He couldn't have picked a better time to hit a line drive into right-center field, easily dashing to third base to complete a rare cycle -- single, double, triple and home run in the same game. In an afternoon game played in Phoenix, Diamondbacks shortstop Stephen Drew also hit for the cycle. It marked the first time two players did it on the same day since Sept. 17, 1920, when Bobby Veach of the Tigers and George Burns of the New York Giants did it. "I didn't know," Beltre said of his own cycle after the Mariners finished off their 12-6 victory over the Rangers. "I hit the ball and I was running, because I didn't know if [Josh] Hamilton was going to get it. When I saw the ball was going deep, I knew I had a chance to go to third, and I just took it." The dash to third base enabled him to join some select company in Mariners history and put himself alone in the record book for being the first Seattle player to get five hits and score five runs in one game. Jay Buhner (June 23, 1993), Alex Rodriguez (June 5, 1997) and John Olerud (June 16, 2001) are the only other Mariners to hit for the cycle. Beltre, who grounded out in the ninth inning, hit a home run in the second inning, singled in the fourth and sixth innings, doubled in the seventh and completed the cycle with his three-bagger in the eighth. "I can't explain it," he said when asked what kind of feeling he had from the rare accomplishment. "It's something that I've seen people do, and it's pretty cool. I have had situations before where I had a chance, and I didn't do it. Today, it feels good. It's something special. It's good to be one of those guys to do it. I'm proud of it." The fourth cycle in club history also was the second of the day in the Major Leagues, something that had not happened in more than 87 years. "It's fun to watch something like that," Mariners outfielder Jeremy Reed said. "That was pretty impressive to watch right there. The thing that is more impressive is he didn't even know about it. I knew about because I was on the bench watching most of the game. "I knew he needed a triple, and to see him go out there and get it, that's pretty cool. He hit it at the best part of the field to get it, and with all the things he has been through, with injuries, it's pretty awesome for him to do that. He's an inspiration to everybody else." Manager Jim Riggleman also saluted Beltre's toughness. "He's the toughest ballplayer I've ever seen. He plays through nagging injuries; he plays through pain; he's an animal out there," Riggleman said. "He is getting some numbers that reflect just how great of a player he really is, and I'm thrilled for him. It's a great accomplishment, something that he can put another notch on his gun belt. But his bigger body of work is a greater accomplishment than that." Beltre's five hits tied his single-game best, accomplished two other times and most recently on July 6, 2007, against the Athletics. The five runs he scored Monday night were a career high. "He has done so many great things, like win a Gold Glove, hit 48 homers a few years ago, have a 200-hit season, and now hit for the cycle," Riggleman said. "He has done so many things, but whether he hits or not, Adrian Beltre is such a force on this ballclub for us." The force definitely was with him on this night.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.