Mariners 9, Dodgers 4
LOS ANGELES (AP)—Adrian Beltre’s return to Dodger Stadium was just about perfect.
Beltre hit a two-run homer in his first at-bat against his former teammates, added a double and two walks, and matched a career high by scoring four times to lead the Seattle Mariners to a 9-4 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night.
“It feels really good to be back here and have the game that I had,” said Beltre, who played six-plus seasons for the Dodgers before signing a five-year, $64 million contract with the Mariners after the 2004 season.
“It couldn’t have been better,” Beltre said, referring to the fact that in addition to everything else, the Mariners won. “It was a little weird being on the other side. I thought it was going to be emotional, and it was. I have some good memories from this ballpark.”
Beltre received a mixed reaction from the crowd of 43,949 when he hit a 1-1 pitch from Brad Penny (7-2) into the right-center field seats in the first.
“I got booed, but it wasn’t that bad,” he said with a smile. “I expected more.”
Beltre also doubled and scored in the third, flew out to the warning track in right in the fifth, walked and scored in the seventh, and walked and scored again in the ninth.
He made his big-league debut with the Dodgers in 1998 at age 19. Beltre hit .334 with 48 homers and 121 RBIs in his last season with the Dodgers, but has struggled since signing with the Mariners. The 27-year-old third baseman has turned things around somewhat since being moved to second in the batting order, hitting safely in 17 of 19 games.
“Adrian had a lot of good years here (in Los Angeles). We’re very happy he’s a Mariner,” Seattle manager Mike Hargrove said. “Adrian’s a good player, plain and simple. He’s really starting to come around for us. Every day he seems to be getting better.”
Richie Sexson had three hits including his 12th homer for the Mariners, who have won four straight games and 10 of 14. They are 7-0 interleague play—all against the NL West.
“It’s nice to go 7-0 against anybody,” said Raul Ibanez, who had two hits and drove in two runs. “I can’t really explain it. It’s good for us.”
The Dodgers, who dropped out of a first-place tie with San Diego in the NL West, have lost four in a row and six of seven.
“We’re in a little bit of a bad spell, but we will get through this,” Dodgers manager Grady Little said.
Joel Pineiro (6-7) earned the victory, allowing 10 hits and four runs in 6 1-3 innings. He lost his previous two starts, giving up 15 hits and 11 earned runs in 9 1-3 innings. Pineiro is 9-4 with a 2.28 ERA in 19 interleague games.
Rafael Soriano blanked the Dodgers over the final two innings to earn his second save.
After Beltre’s seventh homer gave the Mariners a 2-0 lead, the Dodgers tied it in the bottom of the first on an RBI single by Nomar Garciaparra, a throwing error by left fielder Ibanez and a wild pitch.
The Mariners got a run in the second on Ichiro Suzuki’s sacrifice fly, and another in the third when Sexson singled to drive in Beltre.
Rookie Russell Martin hit a two-out, RBI single in the fourth, but Sexson hit a solo homer in the fifth to make it 5-3.
J.D. Drew hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning.
The Mariners scored their final two runs off Jae Seo in the ninth on an RBI double by Ibanez and a fielder’s choice.
Penny allowed five runs and 10 hits in six innings before being lifted for a pinch hitter. He walked none and struck out two.
“Tonight just wasn’t his night,” Little said.
Penny agreed, saying: “I just didn’t have great stuff. I wasn’t locating like I usually do and got too many balls out over the plate. I just wasn’t making the pitches I should have at certain times.”
Beltre also scored four runs in a game against Montreal in 2001 when he was playing for the Dodgers. … Suzuki singled on the game’s third pitch to extend his hitting streak to 19 games—longest in the majors this season. He had an 18-game hitting streak earlier this year. … The Dodgers activated Cesar Izturis before the game. Little said Izturis, a Gold Glove shortstop two years ago, will be the team’s everyday third baseman—at least for now—starting Thursday night. Izturis hasn’t played since undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery in September to repair degenerative arthritis in his right elbow. He walked as a pinch-hitter to open the ninth. … Seattle 2B Jose Lopez sat out his second game because of a sore left thumb. … The Dodgers signed LHP Clayton Kershaw, their first-round pick and the seventh overall selection in this month’s first-year player draft.