If it can happen to Carlos Beltran, who recently turned 37 years old and has logged 2,106 career games, it can happen to any major leaguer. Beltran mistakenly wandered off first base and was tagged for a double play after hitting a grounder to short Sunday afternoon. Beltran initially had reached first safely, but he also had lost track of the number of outs. Whoops.
The mental lapse happened with the New York Yankees trailing by seven runs in the top of the eighth inning, so it probably didn't prevent them from overtaking the Oakland Athletics. Regardless, Yankees manager Joe Girardi called Beltran's gaffe "embarrassing" after Oakland's 10-5 victory.
Batting right-handed, Beltran hit a sharp grounder in the hole on which Jed Lowrie made a nice diving stop. Supporting himself on one knee, Lowrie threw to Nick Punto at second to get the lead runner for the second out of the inning. Beltran ran through the bag at first and, dispiritedly, made a rounded right turn toward the Yankees dugout. Teammates yelled for Beltran to turn around, and he did, casually, apparently trying to avoid arousing suspicion. The A's were slow to realize what was happening, but Kyle Blanks eventually took a throw from Punto and put a tag on Beltran, who hung his head.
Teammates Derek Jeter and Alfonso Soriano could be seen cracking slight grins from the dugout, perhaps anticipating that Beltran's offense would be handled in kangaroo court.
Yankees coach Mick Kelleher and Girardi argued that Beltran simply was looping his way to the bag, but umpire Dan Iassogna rightly wasn't buying and told them to sell it someplace else.
"It's an embarrassing play," manager Joe Girardi said. "It's probably happened to all of us. A lot of times, it's more that you slow up running to the bag as opposed to peeling off. It's a lot more glaring when that happens."
Beltran finished 2 for 4 with a home run, hitting the ball hard each time up, but his last memory of the game was his mistake — the first of its kind in his career, he said.
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