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Beltre gets 3,000th hit in Rangers' 10-6 loss to Orioles

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USA TODAY Sports

Beltre gets 3,000th hit in Rangers' 10-6 loss to Orioles

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Adrian Beltre doubled for his 3,000th career hit Sunday, reaching the milestone in the Texas Rangers' 10-6 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.

The Rangers already were down 4-0 when the 38-year-old third baseman, who went 1 for 5 in his 2,771st game, had a hard hit down the line past third base in the fourth inning.

Beltre became the first player from the Dominican Republic, and 31st overall, to join the 3,000-hit club in the major leagues.

Jonathan Schoop and Welington Castillo homered in a five-run fifth for a 9-2 Orioles lead. Castillo also had the last of three consecutive RBI singles off lefty Martin Perez (5-9) in the fourth.

Wade Miley (5-9) went five innings and one of the four hits he allowed being to Beltre, who grounded a 3-0 pitch that went past the bag and then ricocheted off the side wall into left field.

The Orioles lefty also got one of his five strikeouts when Beltre went down swinging in the second inning.

Rougned Odor homered twice and drove in five runs for Texas. His two-run single in the fourth scored Beltre, who reached on a wild pitch after striking out in the eighth before Odor's second homer. Nomar Mazara also went deep.

Orioles closer Zach Britton came on with two on in the ninth, striking out Mazara and getting Beltre on a grounder to end the game. Britton has converted an AL-record 57 consecutive save opportunities, eight this season.

When Beltre got his 3,000th hit, a banner was unfurled high above straightaway center field congratulating him. His teammates, who had crowded on the rail of the first-base dugout to be as close as possible to the historic moment, flooded onto the field to celebrate with him.

Beltre's two daughters and 10-year-old son Adrian Jr. left their front-row seats near the dugout they had shared with other family members and ran to right-center field. The kids helped unveil a logo commemorating the accomplishment on the wall in front of the Rangers bullpen, then went and hugged their father on the infield dirt.

Now in his 20th big league season, he is only the third player who is primarily a third baseman in the 3,000-hit club, joining Hall of Famers George Brett and Wade Boggs.

The only other current active player in the 3,000-hit club is Miami Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, who is tied with Hall of Fame player Craig Biggio for 22nd all-time at 3,060 hits.

Beltre is now tied for 30th place on the hits list with Roberto Clemente. Al Kaline (3,007) and Boggs (3,010) are next up on the list.

It was Beltre's 605th career double, matching Paul Molitor for 14th all-time. That also matched Mel Ott for 20th with 5,041 total bases; and Beltre's 454 homers are 38th on that list.

Along with his 3,000 hits, Beltre is a five-time Gold Glover. He had a career-best and franchise-record 62-game streak without at error at third base before a throwing error Saturday night's game.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Orioles: DH Mark Trumbo was scratched from the lineup after tweaking his back while stretching in the weight room before the game.

Rangers: RHP A.J. Griffin (oblique strain) threw 40 pitches in two innings in his rehab start on Saturday night at Triple-A Round Rock. He could rejoin the Rangers this week.

UP NEXT

Orioles: After finishing their season series 6-1 against Texas, the Orioles play their next seven games at home. They play Kansas City on Monday.

Rangers: Two years to the day after being acquired by Texas in a trade, lefty Cole Hamels (5-1, 3.97) pitches in the series opener against Seattle and Felix Hernandez.

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Kevin Gausman changes jersey number to honor Roy Halladay

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USA Today Sports

Kevin Gausman changes jersey number to honor Roy Halladay

BALTIMORE  -- Orioles pitcher Kevin Gausman will wear No. 34 next season as a tribute to Roy Halladay, who was killed in a plane crash last month.

Gausman announced the switch Thursday on his Twitter account. The right-hander wore No. 39 last year.

Gausman and Halladay are both from Colorado, and the Orioles pitcher said he followed Halladay's career closely and idolized him.

In a post next a photo of his new jersey, Gausman wrote: "Roy gave me the inspiration that I could fulfill even my biggest of dreams -- being a pitcher just like him."

Gausman concluded: "The loss of Roy is tragic and saddening, but I feel honored to have watched everything he achieved."

Halladay died on Nov. 7 when his small plane crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. He played 16 big league seasons, winning the Cy Young Award in each league and being named an All-Star eight times.

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Astros, Dodgers set Series HR record amid juiced ball buzz

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USA TODAY Sports

Astros, Dodgers set Series HR record amid juiced ball buzz

HOUSTON (AP) -- Home runs kept flying over the wall at Minute Maid Park, on line drives up toward the train tracks, on fly balls that just dropped over the fence.

Seven more were hit in Game 5, raising the total to a World Series record 22 -- with two possible more games to play. Twenty-five runs were scored in a game started by the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw and the Astros' Dallas Keuchel, Cy Young Award winners regarded as among baseball's best.

After a season when sluggers outpaced even their steroid-era predecessors for home runs, some are convinced that something is amiss with the baseballs.

"The main complaint is that the balls seem a little bit different in the postseason, and even from the postseason to the World Series balls," Justin Verlander said Sunday, two days before he takes the mound in Game 6 and tries to pitch the Astros to their first title. "They're a little slick. You just deal with it. But I don't think it's the case of one pitcher saying, `Hey, something is different here.' I think as a whole, everybody is saying, `Whoa, something is a little off here.'"

A record eight home runs were hit in Game 2, including five in extra innings, and Game 5's seven long balls would have tied the old mark. The 13-12, 10-inning Astros' win Sunday night was the second-highest scoring game in Series history.

Keuchel was quoted as saying after Game 2: "Obviously, the balls are juiced."

Not so obvious to everyone, even amid the power surge.

"I haven't personally noticed anything. I haven't tried to think about it either," Dodgers reliever Brandon Morrow said after giving up two homers in Game 5. "It's not something you want to put in your own head."

Same for Kershaw, even after giving up his record eighth homer of the postseason Sunday.

"I don't really pay attention to it," Kershaw said. "I just assume that both sides are dealing with it, so I'm not going to worry about it."

This year's long ball assault topped the 21 of the 2002 Series. Anaheim hit seven and Barry Bonds and his San Francisco Giants slugged 14 over seven games. That was the year before survey drug testing.

Speculation that something has changed includes a study claiming to have found differences in the size and seam height of balls since the 2015 All-Star break.

"I know there was talk about different sizes and some of the baseballs were slightly bigger and some were smaller. Some of the seams were higher, some of the seams were lower. But, no, it's been consistent," said Rich Hill, who will start Game 6 for the Dodgers. "I think that just has to do with conditions -- if it's colder it's going to be slicker. If it's a little bit warmer out or humid, I think you're going to find that you're going to have a little bit more of moisture to the baseballs."

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred insists nothing nefarious is going on.

"I'm absolutely confident that the balls that we're using are within our established specifications," he said Friday.

Verlander rejected that assertion.

"I know Mr. Manfred said the balls haven't changed, but I think there's enough information out there to say that's not true," he said.

Verlander also does not think it's an issue of how balls are rubbed up before games.

"I know baseball uses the same mud for every single ball for every single game that's played," he said. "I think there's a broader issue that we're all missing."

On the day he become commissioner in January 2015, Manfred said, "I'm cognizant in the drop in offense over the last five years, and it's become a topic of conversation in the game, and it's something that we're going to have to continue to monitor and study."

Offense started rebounding during the second half of the season, and a record 6,105 home runs were hit this year, 2.4 percent more than the previous mark of 5,963 set in 2000 at the height of the Steroids Era.

"I think it's pretty clear," Verlander said. "I think our commissioner has said publicly that they wanted more offense in the game. I'm pretty sure I'm not fabricating a quote here when I say that. I think it was already All-Star break of `15, or right before, when he said that."

San Francisco's Johnny Cueto and Toronto's Marcus Stroman also think the balls have changed, with Stroman blaming slick balls for a rise in pitcher blisters -- an affliction which has struck Hill a few times in the past couple seasons, too.

Houston's Brent Strom and the Dodgers' Rick Honeycutt, the World Series pitching coaches, both were quoted by Sports Illustrated on Sunday as saying the slickness of the ball made throwing sliders difficult.

"Everyone is entitled to their opinion," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "I don't see a ton difference, but I'm not going to get in a verbal war with coaches and players who think otherwise."

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had a similar view but acknowledged the power records got his attention.

"The pitchers talk about it feels different in their hand. The one component is the slickness and guys at different ballparks rub it up differently," he said. "Sort of feels the same to me. But it's hard to argue the numbers. You know there's more velocity. Guys are swinging harder. I know in Los Angeles the air was light. It was hot. The ball was flying, carrying more than typically. But I hesitate to try to give you any insight because I really don't know."

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