SEATTLE -- Slumping veteran Adrian Beltre said he had reached a low this season, a level he had not seen before.
He was back at the bottom at the end of Wednesday night's win -- that is the bottom of a celebrating, back-pounding dog pile of Mariners.Beltre singled home Franklin Gutierrez, who tripled, with one out in the bottom of the ninth for his third hit, sending Seattle to a 3-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night."You know, baseball is full of ups and downs. And I've been at the lowest point for two months," said Beltre, who was benched for batting .211 and anxiously swinging at almost anything two weeks ago but is at .244 now in the final year of his $64 million contract.He has six hits in his last two games."I've got more confidence now. Sometimes, it's more mental than fundamental," he said.Gutierrez's drive banged off the top of the wall in left-center just beyond the reach of leaping center fielder Adam Jones. Jim Johnson (2-3) then intentionally walked both Ichiro Suzuki, who had earlier extended his hitting streak to 27 games, and Russell Branyan to load the bases for Beltre in hopes of a double play.Johnson fell behind 3-1 on 96 mph fastballs, including a low pitch like the one Beltre has chased most of this season. The crowd of 18,650 stood and roared. On a third 3-2 pitch, a fastball up, Beltre lined a single into left field beyond the reach of drawn-in shortstop Cesar Izturis.Beltre raised both arms in celebration -- then kept running past first base and into center field, with jubilant teammates chasing him into that silly scrum.Closer David Aardsma (2-2) pitched a scoreless ninth for Seattle, which won for the fifth time in seven games. He got a strike-out-caught-stealing double play, when Melvin Mora fanned while Aubrey Huff was running for second for the third consecutive time with the count 3-2."He's not a speedster anyway. And that winds a guy," Johnson said of Huff.It was the fourth failed hit-and-run of the game for the sloppy Orioles, who lost for the fourth time in five games since a revitalizing, five-game winning streak."We beat ourselves. They didn't beat us," Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said.Luke Scott hit his 12th home run -- and seventh in eight games -- off starter Jason Vargas. Huff had three hits, but had a home run call reversed in the first inning for Baltimore.Suzuki extended his Mariners record hitting streak with a single off rookie Brad Bergesen in the third. He is three games short of the longest hitting streak in the major leagues this season, by Washington's Ryan Zimmerman.Beltre followed two batters later with a homer off the facing of the second deck well beyond left field to give Seattle a 2-1 lead. His fourth home run of the season was his fifth hit in seven at-bats. It was also the 75th homer allowed by Baltimore, the most in the AL."We said all sinkers and sliders away," Bergesen said, reciting the recipe opponents have used to regularly get Beltre to chase pitches. "And sure enough, I threw a fastball and just left it up."Scott tied it at 2 in the sixth with a two-out double off reliever Chris Jakubauskas.Huff's drive in the first sailed just past the right-field pole and was originally called a home run. The umpires then got together in the infield and ruled it a foul ball.Trembley came out to discuss the ruling and the umpires then went to a video review. After a 2-minute look, they confirmed Huff's drive was foul.It was the second time video was used at Safeco Field since the league began using the system last season.
Vargas allowed eight hits and two runs in 5 1/3 innings. ... Bergesen allowed five hits and two runs in seven innings. ... Tom McNamara, in his first year as Seattle's director of amateur scouting under new GM Jack Zduriencik, said the team has a pretty good idea who it wants to take with the second overall pick in next week's draft. Many believe it will be .400 hitter Dustin Ackley of the University of North Carolina. When asked if the Mariners had any hope prized pitcher Stephen Strasburg of San Diego State will slip past Washington, which owns the No. 1 pick, McNamara refused to comment.