MLB Notebook: Beltre reaches milestone at 35
Rangers star becomes just 36th player to get to 2,500 hits in age-35 season
On Wednesday, June 24, 1998, Dodgers third baseman Adrian Beltre came to the plate in the bottom of the second inning with two men on and two outs. Facing the Angels' Chuck Finley, Beltre -- then 19 years and 78 days old --- celebrated his first Major League plate appearance in immediate fashion, lashing the first pitch of the matchup to left field for a double to score Paul Konerko. Beltre then flew out on the third pitch of his second at-bat, flew out on the first pitch in his third trip to the plate, flew out on five pitches in the eighth, and then nicely bookended his debut with a single on an 0-1 pitch in the 11th.
No Dodgers batter in the live-ball era had been so young during a two-hit debut, and Beltre set the tone for what has been an engrossing journey toward the realization of some remarkable counting numbers for his age and position.
Beltre belts No. 2,500
In the Rangers' 8-2 loss to the Tigers on Tuesday, Beltre (on the 16th anniversary of his debut) went 4-for-4 to reach and then surpass 2,500 hits for his career. Taking stock of his statistical standing as it relates to players in their age-35 season, Beltre ranks: 35th all-time in hits (first among third basemen), 14th in doubles (first among third basemen), 40th in homers (fourth among third basemen), 45th in RBIs (second among third basemen), 22nd in total bases (second among third basemen) and 18th in extra-base hits (second among third basemen). Of the 36 players in history to reach 2,500 hits through their age-35 season, only five are not in the Hall of Fame: active players Beltre, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, plus Pete Rose and Vada Pinson.
Kinlser, Martinez roaring for Tigers
The visiting Tigers got home runs from Ian Kinsler and J.D. Martinez in their 8-2 win over the Rangers. The game marked the former Texas star Kinsler's return to the Rangers' home ballpark, where he played 538 games for the home team and posted an .898 OPS with 243 extra-base hits. Entering Tuesday's game, those 243 extra-base hits were the fourth most for any player at the ballpark (behind totals from Michael Young, Ivan Rodriguez and Juan Gonzalez). And among the four players who accumulated at least 2,000 plate appearances at the park, Kinsler's OPS was behind only Rusty Greer's .902. Rodriguez posted an .891 OPS, while Young had an .848.
In 63 plate appearances in June, Martinez has compiled a .361/.365/.770 slash line, with his 1.136 OPS the third best among all players with at least 60 trips to the plate in the month. Since 1914, Detroit has seen some enormous Junes from its players, with 10 Tigers having a June in which they came to the plate at least 75 times and finished the month with an OPS of at least 1.200. Norm Cash owned a 1.413 in 1961, and Ty Cobb posted a 1.384 in '25. Harry Heilmann had a 1.377 in '22, and a year later, compiled a 1.325 for the month. Cobb also had a 1.316 in '17. The most recent Tigers player to finish June with 75 plate appearances and an OPS over 1.200 was Rodriguez, who had a 1.274 in 2004.
Mets power Colon to win
Bartolo Colon allowed one run in eight innings and the Mets went deep four times in a 10-1 win over the Athletics.
Since turning 40 years old, Colon has posted 16 starts in which he has allowed no more than one run. Those 16 tie him with Orlando Hernandez for the 26th most since 1914. Phil Niekro leads with 67, and the rest of the top five takes shape with Nolan Ryan (61), Roger Clemens (60), Jamie Moyer (59) and Randy Johnson (48).
The four-homer outburst represented the fifth time since 2009 (when Citi Field opened) that the Mets had hit at least four round-trippers in a home game. Among the other 14 current NL teams, the Giants (one), Pirates (two), Padres (two) and Cardinals (four) have fewer four-homer games at home since '09 than the Mets, while the Marlins also have five since then.
Arrieta's dominant June continues
Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta allowed two runs and three hits in seven innings and came away with a win in Chicago's 7-3 victory over Cincinnati.
For the month, Arrieta -- in five starts -- has held opponents to a .182 batting average and compiled a 0.789 WHIP and a 1.14 ERA. Some connections to these numbers:
• The most recent Cubs pitcher to have at least five starts in a June and finish the month with a batting average against as low as .182 was Carlos Zambrano, who held opponents to a .175 mark in 2006.
• The lowest WHIP since 1914 for a Cubs pitcher with at least five starts in a completed June was Fergie Jenkins' 0.800 in 1971.
• Since 1914, there have been three Cubs pitchers who finished a June with at least five starts and an ERA at or below 1.20: Hippo Vaughn (0.76 in 1917), Phil Douglas (1.13 in '18) and Rick Reuschel (0.92 in '77).
Clutch Zimmerman comes through in 16th
Washington's Ryan Zimmerman belted a two-run homer in the top of the 16th inning to provide the eventual winning margin in a 4-2 victory over Milwaukee.
Zimmerman's home run was the first in Expos/Nationals history to come in the 16th inning or later, with three previous 15th-inning home runs now relegated to the No. 2 slot: Marquis Grissom (bottom of the 15th on May 7, 1991), Rondell White (top of the 15th on Sept. 12, 1997) and Adam LaRoche (top of the 15th on Aug. 17, 2013).
Zimmerman has amassed 10 home runs in the ninth inning or later that have given his team the lead (includes walk-offs). Those 10 since 2005 (his debut season) are tied for the sixth most, with Jason Giambi (13), David Ortiz (12), Adam Dunn (12), Ryan Howard (11) and Miguel Cabrera (11) having more. Zimmerman is tied with Albert Pujols and Nick Swisher.
Here and there
• B.J. Upton hit a third-inning home run, and one inning later, his brother, Justin, followed with a long ball. The end result was the Braves beat the Astros, 3-2, and the brothers tied a Major League mark. It was the fourth time the Uptons had homered in the same game, equaling the number of times the Guerreros (Vladimir and Wilton) and the Giambis (Jason and Jeremy) homered in the same contest as teammates.
• The Indians and D-backs used 19 pitchers in Arizona's 14-inning, 9-8 victory. The 19 fell one shy of the NL record for an extra-inning game, a number reached three previous times, and most recently by the Rockies and Cardinals on Sept. 19, 2013. In August 2013, the D-backs and Phillies tied the record of 20.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.