Palmeiro doubles in fifth inning off Pineiro
SEATTLE -- Baltimore Orioles slugger Rafael Palmeiro became the 26th player to reach 3,000 career hits on Friday night, curling an RBI double into the left field corner in the fifth inning off Seattle starter Joel Pineiro.
Palmeiro also has 566 home runs over his 20-year career, joining Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray as the only players with 3,000 hits and 500 homers.
Palmeiro's double tied him with Roberto Clemente for 25th place on the all-time list, both with 3,000 hits. In the sixth, he added a single to center off Mariners reliever Shigetoshi Hasegawa, passing Clemente.
The 40-year-old Palmeiro was cheered each time he batted, and flashbulbs popped on every pitch when the mark was pending. After the milestone hit, Palmeiro's teammates rushed onto the field from the dugout and bullpen, and he received a lengthy standing ovation from the Safeco Field crowd.
Palmeiro's sons were on hand to enjoy the night, too. Preston Palmeiro documented it with a video camera and another son, Patrick, was acting as Baltimore's batboy. Both boys ran on the field with the Orioles and hugged their father.
As the Orioles left the field, Palmeiro raised his helmet and thanked the fans.
Palmeiro, who walked in the first and grounded out in the third, went into a four-game series at Seattle only two hits short of 3,000. He was 1-for-3 with a walk in the series opener, lining a single to right in the fourth inning Thursday.
Rickey Henderson was the most recent player to reach 3,000 hits, accomplishing the feat Oct. 7, 2001 for San Diego.
Besides moving up on the career hits list, Palmeiro also tied Robin Yount for No. 13 all-time with 583 doubles. His 1,187 extra-base hits rank seventh, moving Palmeiro out of a tie with Frank Robinson. Next up is Lou Gehrig (1,190).
Though often overlooked among the game's best hitters, Palmeiro has been the model of consistency in a 20-year career that started with the Chicago Cubs and included two stints with the Texas Rangers.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press