Mariners third baseman Adrian Beltre was back in the lineup on Monday, batting in the No. 2 spot, after some sleepless nights and a harrowing...
Mariners third baseman Adrian Beltre was back in the lineup on Monday, batting in the No. 2 spot, after some sleepless nights and a harrowing travel schedule to attend the birth of his son in Los Angeles. Beltre’s wife, Sandra, gave birth to the baby boy, Adrian Jr., by Caesarean section early Friday morning — a week ahead of her due date.
Beltre nearly made it to Los Angeles without much of an ordeal. He had planned to spend the Thursday off-day there as a mini-vacation following the team’s series in Detroit, and had booked two separate flights out at different times, depending on how long Wednesday’s game lasted.
When the game was delayed more than three hours by rain, he missed both flights. Beltre decided to accompany the team charter back to Seattle and got in late Wednesday night. The next day, he got a telephone call from his wife.
“She said she felt like the baby was going to come out,” Beltre said. “So, I said, ‘OK, I’m going to take a shower, book a flight, and I’ll be there on the next flight.”
He flew in that afternoon and got his wife to the hospital, and his son was born at 1:14 a.m. Friday, weighing in at 7 pounds, 3 ½ ounces. Beltre hasn’t slept much since.
“Not a lot,” he said with a laugh. “He’s not too bad. He sleeps good and then he wakes up, eats. He gets up and cries because he wants to eat. But he’s not bad.”
Beltre had been bumped back to No. 7 and No. 8 in the batting order on the team’s recent road trip. Chris Snelling occupied the No. 2 slot during the weekend series against Texas, but sat out Monday’s game because Toronto starter Ted Lilly is a left-hander.
Beltre showed no signs of rust early, bare-handing a Frank Catalanotto roller up the third-base line in the first inning and throwing him out.
Moving on up
Few young hitters take to hitting out of the pressure-packed No. 3 spot in the order the way shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt has this past week. Betancourt is riding a 10-game hit streak and entered Monday hitting .317 in the second half.
“I haven’t really had a chance to focus on that,” Betancourt, speaking through a translator, said of the move from the No. 9 slot. “I’m just trying to see the ball and hit the ball. If it makes contact, then great. If not, I just have to work harder and see that it does.”
Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said he’ll keep running Betancourt out there.
“It hasn’t really made him a different hitter,” Hargrove said. “He’s still the same hitter. A lot of times, you take a younger hitter who’s been successful in a certain part of the lineup and move him to a more highlighted spot and they start trying to do things different. A little more extra.
“He hasn’t done it and that’s good.”
A difficult loss
Snelling, who makes his offseason home in Gorokan, Australia, is as baffled as any of his countrymen by the death last week of television personality Steve Irwin, “The Crocodile Hunter.” Irwin was killed when a stingray pierced him through the heart with its barb during a television filming.
“If you think about it, he’s probably thinking, ‘I’ve wrestled with crocodiles, dealt with snakes and spiders that can kill me like that,’ ” Snelling said. “So, then he probably thinks, ‘Now, I’ll just go swimming in the ocean with some stingrays — no problem.’
“It’s sad. Real sad.”
Snelling added that Irwin was just as famous abroad as he was in his native Australia.
“I think he was really, really famous here,” he said. “Everybody goes, ‘Oh, you’re Australian. Do you know Steve Irwin?’ “
• Hargrove has yet to name the pitcher who will start Friday against Kansas City in place of Felix Hernandez. The candidates are minor-league call-ups Francisco Cruceta, Ryan Feierabend and Travis Chick. Hernandez is to make two more starts after that, and the plan is to skip his spot again on the final weekend of the season to limit the number of innings he pitches this season.
• Washington State Patrol Trooper Kelly Kalmbach threw out the ceremonial first pitch Monday as part of a pregame commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
Kalmbach, who was shot five times in the arms and legs while making a DUI stop in Tacoma last June 28, was on the field as part of a contingent of 11 Puget Sound law-enforcement agencies paying tribute to the police, fire and rescue community.
How the runs scored
Blue Jays first: Johnson was hit by a pitch. Catalanotto sacrificed, third baseman Beltre to first baseman Sexson, Johnson to second. Wells singled to left, Johnson scored. Glaus struck out. Wells stole second. On Johjima’s error, Wells to third. Molina singled to center, Wells scored. Overbay flied out to center fielder Ichiro. 2 runs, 2 hits, 1 error, 1 left on. Blue Jays 2, M’s 0.
Blue Jays fourth: Molina grounded out, third baseman Beltre to first baseman Sexson. Overbay doubled to right. Hill walked on four pitches. Lind singled to center, Overbay scored, Hill to third. McDonald sacrificed, pitcher Woods to first baseman Sexson, Hill scored, Lind to second. Johnson singled to right, Lind scored. Johnson was caught stealing, catcher Johjima to shortstop Betancourt, Johnson out. 3 runs, 3 hits, 0 errors, 0 left on. Blue Jays 5, M’s 0.
Mariners fifth: Sexson walked on a full count. Perez struck out. Johjima doubled to left, Sexson to third. On Lilly’s wild pitch, Sexson scored, Johjima to third. Lopez grounded out, second baseman Hill to first baseman Overbay, Johjima scored. Morse singled to center. Ichiro grounded out, pitcher Lilly to first baseman Overbay. 2 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors, 1 left on. Blue Jays 5, M’s 2.
Blue Jays seventh: Johnson walked on four pitches. Catalanotto grounded out, first baseman Sexson unassisted, Johnson to second. Wells doubled to left, Johnson scored. Wells was picked off, pitcher Fruto to second baseman Lopez, Wells out. Glaus struck out. 1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 0 left on. Blue Jays 6, M’s 2.
For the record
W/L streak: L-2
At home: 40-33
On road: 28-42
vs. AL West: 14-34
vs. Angels: 9-10
vs. Oakland: 1-15
vs. Texas: 4-9
vs. AL East: 24-18
vs. AL Cen.: 16-19
vs. NL: 14-4
vs. LHP: 20-21
vs. RHP: 48-54
Extra innings: 6-7
Monday’s crowd: 24,262
Overall attendance: 2,281,850
Season avg. (73 games): 31,629
Biggest crowd: 46,325
Smallest crowd: 16,102
2005 avg. (73 games): 34,5718
The week ahead
7:05 p.m., FSN
RH Gil Meche
RH Shaun Marcum
1:35 p.m., no TV
RH Cha Seung Baek (3-0)
RH A.J. Burnett
@ Kansas City
5:10 p.m., Ch. 11
LH Odalis Perez
@ Kansas City
5:10 p.m., FSN
RH Luke Hudson (7-5)
@ Kansas City
5:10 p.m., FSN
LH Jake Woods
LH Mark Redman (9-8)