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Roger Schlueter

MLB Notebook: Beltre could join elite company

Third baseman has a chance to reach several impressive career marks in 2014

MLB Notebook: Beltre could join elite company

Over the course of Major League Baseball history, there have been six players to conclude their age-35 season with at least 2,600 career hits, at least 1,400 RBIs and at least 950 extra-base hits. Arranging the group in order of descending OPS+, the list looks like this: Lou Gehrig (179), Rogers Hornsby (177), Stan Musial (168), Hank Aaron (158), Mel Ott (157) and Alex Rodriguez (145).

If Adrian Beltre has a typical 2014 campaign (typical in the sense of what he's done since joining the Rangers in '11), he stands a fairly good chance of making this list of six grow by one. Admittedly, this roundup was selected to introduce Beltre to the existing sextet, and Beltre's OPS+ entering this year worked out to 114. But for a game that relishes its round numbers and milestones, Beltre continues to glide towards a fascinating collection of numbers. It'll be a lot of fun to see how high he can climb.

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Beltre helps Rangers walk off a winner
Beltre's RBI single in the bottom of the ninth gave the Rangers a 3-2 victory over the Phillies on Tuesday night, and gave Beltre 14 career walk-off hits. His 14 since his rookie season in 1998 tie Beltre with Andruw Jones and Orlando Cabrera for the fourth most in the Majors. David Ortiz has 19, and Miguel Tejada and Albert Pujols are tied for second, with 15.

In addition to the game-ending single, Beltre also doubled, and he now has 2,430 career hits. During his first three seasons with the Rangers, he averaged 179 hits a year. Such a total in 2014 would give Beltre 2,605 by the end of this, his age-35 season. Twenty-one players in baseball history have reached at least 2,600 hits through their age-35 season.

In addition to his game-winning RBI, Beltre also drove in a run with his double in the seventh. Through his first three seasons with the Rangers, he's averaged 100 RBIs and 67 extra-base hits. Those totals this season would give him 1,407 career RBIs and 968 extra-base hits. For all players in history through their age-35 season, 30 of them collected 1,400 RBIs at that point, and 15 of them had reached 950 extra-base hits.

Beltre is three doubles away from 500 in his career. There are 58 members of the 500-doubles club, but only 16 of them had reached that milestone through their age-35 season.

Young arms lead Miami
Marlins starter Nathan Eovaldi allowed two runs in six innings, closer Steve Cishek converted his first save opportunity of the season, and Miami defeated Colorado, 4-3.

Cishek has converted 30 consecutive save opportunities -- a streak that began on June 8, 2013, and represents the longest in team history (Todd Jones, with 27 in a row, had owned the high mark). In the 30 games, Cishek has been charged with no runs in 28 1/3 innings and has allowed 17 hits and six walks while striking out 33.

Eovaldi was 24 years and 47 days old for this win. With Jose Fernandez (at 21 years and 243 days old for his Opening Day start and win for the team), the Marlins are the seventh club since 1914 to have a pair of hurlers under the age of 25 start the first two games of the season and emerge with victories.

The previous six:

• 1917 Red Sox: Babe Ruth and Dutch Leonard
• 1951 White Sox: Billy Pierce and Marv Rotblatt
• 1968 Astros: Larry Dierker and Don Wilson
• 1970 Angels: Andy Messersmith and Tom Murphy
• 1980 Reds: Frank Pastore and Mike LaCoss
• 2003 Expos: Tony Armas, Jr. and Zach Day

Jeter reaches base twice in final opener
Making his 17th Opening Day start, Derek Jeter reached base twice, getting hit by a pitch in the first inning and later adding a single, in the Yankees' 6-2 loss to the Astros.

Jeter's 17 Opening Day starts are the second most in Yankees history, behind Mickey Mantle's 18 And with the game in the books, Jeter now has 20 seasons with the Yankees -- the most for the franchise. At 19, he had been tied with Mariano Rivera; Jeter's hit gave him 3,317 -- two behind Paul Molitor for eighth on Elias' all-time hits list.

As good as Goldschmidt
In the D-backs' 5-4 victory over the Giants, Paul Goldschmidt doubled and singled for his fourth straight multihit game to begin the season.

Goldschmidt is the seventh player in the past five years to have at least two hits in each of his team's first four games, joining Nelson Cruz in 2013 and Martin Prado, Placido Polanco, Magglio Ordonez, Ryan Howard and Vladimir Guerrero in '10.

Dating back to last season, Goldschmidt has hit safely in 23 consecutive games.

Feldman shuts down Yankees
Astros right-hander Scott Feldman allowed two singles and two walks in 6 2/3 scoreless innings vs. the Yankees. Feldman also fanned three, with his complete line giving him a game score (an equation used to measure a pitcher's dominance) of 71.

That score tied him for the fifth highest among any of the 53 Opening Day starts in team history. By game score, Feldman's start was the best for an Astros pitcher on Opening Day since Roy Oswalt hurled eight shutout innings (allowing five hits with one walk and eight strikeouts) in 2006, with his line that day accounting for a 79.

Here and there
• The Dodgers defeated the Padres, 3-2, improving to 3-1 on the season. In the victory, Yasiel Puig homered and singled. Puig's 20 homers through his first 108 games tie him with Johnny Frederick and Mike Piazza for the second most for any Dodgers player. Frank Howard had 22 long balls in his first 108 games.

• In the Padres' loss, their first run came on a Seth Smith homer. Smith was the fourth Padres player to homer in each of the team's first two games of the year, joining Fred McGriff in 1992, Brian Giles in 2005 and Adrian Gonzalez in '10. None of the three also homered in the team's third game.

• Braves right-hander Craig Kimbrel picked up his first save of the year, fanning all three batters he faced in a 19-pitch ninth inning. Kimbrel has faced 886 batters in his career (which began in 2010), and he has struck out 384 of them (43.34 percent). Looking at all non-active pitchers who had faced at least 800 batters through their first five seasons, the highest percentage was Billy Wagner's 38.51.

• Giants first baseman Brandon Belt homered in the team's loss to the D-backs, giving him one in each of San Francisco's first two games. He is the first Giant to do that since Ray Durham and Benito Santiago each homered in first two of the 2003 season.

• Mariners shortstop Brad Miller homered twice in his team's 8-3 win over the Angels, and he now has four multihomer games in 78 career games. Since 1914, only two players have had four multihomer games so early into a career: Bob Horner and Jason Bay. Interestingly, outside of the eight homers produced by these four multihomer games, Miller has only gone deep twice.

Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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