LOS ANGELES -- On June 24, 1998, Adrian Beltre recorded the first hit of his career -- an RBI single off Angels left-hander Chuck Finley -- while batting eighth for the Dodgers in Dodger Stadium.
Nearly 20 years later to the date, Beltre returned to the same venue to collect a base hit against his former club that will perhaps be just as memorable for the Rangers' third baseman as his first.
Beltre doubled against Dodgers right-hander Kenta Maeda during the fourth inning Wednesday night for his 3,090th career hit. Beltre surpassed Ichiro Suzuki for the most base knocks recorded by a non-U.S. native. He finished the evening 3-for-4, including a walk, during Wednesday's 3-2 extra-inning defeat to the Dodgers.
The night before, Beltre had watched his teammate, 45-year-old right-hander Bartolo Colon, notch his 2,500th career strikeout. Being next to accomplish a historic feat wasn't something that he'd placed too much emphasis on Wednesday.
"That's going to be a special moment when it happens," Beltre said Tuesday night.
Beltre's tally is also the most amassed by any active player. He and Angels first baseman Jose Pujols are the only other current players in the 3,000-hit club, with latter having joined the group in early May.
Beltre moved into 21st on the Major Leagues' all-time hit list, also breaking his deadlock with Ichiro, who moved into a front-office role with the Mariners on May 3 and has not appeared in a game since.