Beltre's keen eye helpful to Mariners

Beltre's keen eye helpful to Mariners

ST. PETERSBURG -- It didn't go down as a "stolen base," but the run third baseman Adrian Beltre scored in the fourth inning on Monday afternoon against the Orioles was another kind of theft.

He "stole" the game-tying run by paying attention to what was happening at first base.

With one out, Beltre at second base and Richie Sexson at first, Jose Vidro hit a grounder between third and short, which was fielded by Orioles first baseman Kevin Millar, who started what could have been an inning-ending double play.

Sexson was forced out at second but Vidro barely beat the throw back to first base, which was being covered by pitcher Daniel Cabrera. The umpire ruled that Vidro was safe and, as Cabrera began to argue, Beltre accelerated and scored to tie the game at 3.

"He came around the base, took a look and saw the guy was not paying attention and kind of eased his way down the line," third-base coach Sam Perlozzo said. "He basically had to read it on his own and did a great job. He made a good play."

The play would have been discussed a lot more after the game if the Mariners had won by one run instead of losing by one run.

"It was a big run at the time," said Beltre prior to Tuesday night's series opener against the Rays at Tropicana Field, adding that he has pulled off the same play at least one other time in his MLB career.

Replaying Monday's headsup play, Beltre said, "It's automatic to look at where the play is being made and I had it in my mind that I might go, because the pitcher was covering and they're not the greatest fielders in the world. I noticed that he slipped a little it, took a couple of steps to catch his balance, and his back was turned away from the plate.

"I figured he couldn't turn around, make a good throw and get me, so I went."

That part became moot when Cabrera began arguing with the first-base umpire, allowing Beltre to score without a play being made on him. He didn't even have to slide -- and ran into the home-plate umpire, nearly knocking him down.

"I think he expected me to slide," Beltre said. "I bumped him pretty good and asked him if he was OK."

"That was a great play," Perlozzo said. "There is a point of no return, when you have to take off or turn around and come back."

Scoring runs has been a challenge for the Mariners this season, so stealing a run now and then helps.

"We haven't had a whole lot of action out there, guys have been hitting home runs, but it's something we did a couple of times in Spring Training, if you recall," Perlozzo said. "You have to give our guys credit. They don't shut it down when they come around [third]."

Jim Street is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.