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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Beltre powers Mariners

Third baseman belts two homers in victory

By DAVID JIMENEZ Associated Press

ARLINGTON, Texas – After Adrian Beltre put Seattle ahead with his bat, he kept them there by doing his part on a heads-up defensive play.

Beltre homered twice, including the go-ahead shot in the eighth inning, to lead the Mariners past the short-handed Texas Rangers 7-5 Monday night.

Beltre’s 18th home run, a solo shot, put Seattle on top 6-5. The Rangers looked ready to answer in their half of the eighth, putting runners on second and third with one out and baseball’s RBI leader Josh Hamilton at the plate.

Beltre saw Ramon Vazquez was a long way down the third-base line, and made eye contact with catcher Kenji Johjima. Hamilton took a pitch, and Johjima made a perfect throw to Beltre to catch Vazquez off third.

“It’s a tough play,” said Beltre, who blocked Vazquez’ path back to third with his foot. “But in that moment we have the best RBI man in baseball up there. Any ground ball or fly ball ties the game.”

Arthur Rhodes struck out Hamilton to preserve Seattle’s lead.

“It was the right time for the call,” Johjima said. “In that situation it’s worth the risk.”

Rangers All-Star shortstop Michael Young could miss up to a week with a small fracture on his right ring finger, which he apparently suffered diving back to first base on a pickoff attempt in the first inning. He is expected to be out of the lineup five to seven days.

Texas was already without third baseman Hank Blalock, who was scratched before the game with an upset stomach.

“It’s a small break,” Young said. “I jammed it. I couldn’t get my hand over the bag, and I slammed it in there.”

Frank Francisco (2-3) allowed Beltre’s homer in the eighth.

Sean Green (3-3) earned the win in relief of Felix Hernandez by picking up the final out in the seventh. After Rhodes worked the eighth, Brandon Morrow pitched the ninth for his 10th save in 12 chances.

Hernandez allowed six hits and four runs over six innings. He struck out six and walked four.

Raul Ibanez and rookie Bryan LaHair hit solo homers for the Mariners, who have won two in a row after snapping a seven-game losing streak. Ichiro Suzuki added a sacrifice fly in the ninth.

“The guys battled,” Mariners manager Jim Riggleman said. “There were big hits and we pitched out of trouble. There was a lot of good stuff out there.”

Texas starter Scott Feldman allowed five runs and eight hits in six innings. He struck out four and walked one.