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Vladimir Guerrero is 'very happy' he set Dominican hits record in Baltimore

Move over, Julio Franco. We have a new all-time major league career hits leader among Dominican-born players. His name is Vladimir Guerrero, but you can still call him Vlad the Impaler if you prefer.

With no outs and the bases empty in the bottom of the sixth inning Monday, Guerrero bounced the first pitch from Boston Red Sox ace Josh Beckett up the middle for hit No. 2,587 in his 16 seasons.

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The crowd at Camden Yards, which, per usual, had a bunch of Red Sox fans in attendance, gave Guerrero a roaring ovation when the accolade was flashed on the scoreboard. Standing at first base, Guerrero tipped his batting helmet to the crowd and soaked in the experience.

"I've played for a lot of years --16 years -- so it felt very good, very satisfying to get that hit," he later said through interpreter Rudy Arias as he iced his knees at his stall in the Orioles clubhouse.

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Buck Showalter, who left the dugout in the first inning to receive treatment on his injured ankle, worried he would miss the "special" milestone. Thankfully, he was sidelined for only an inning.

"I didn't want to miss that," the Orioles manager said. "You want to be there for things like that. I appreciate him waiting a little bit until I got back out there. Everybody's so proud of him.

"You feel so blessed to get to have a guy around you who just loves to play baseball. You can tell. Every day he comes to the door, it's like he's playing his first game in Little League. He's a manager's delight because you know he's going to be there, he's going to post up, he loves to play and it's never going to be for a lack of caring. He'll do as well as he can do. He's slashing and hacking and letting it rip."

Two batters after passing Franco, the 36-year-old designated hitter resumed his assault on the Dominican stolen-base record. When he nabbed second base, it was his second steal of the season and the 181st of his career. He now trails Cesar Cedeno by just 369 for that mark.

"He takes off and steals second base, and [third base coach Willie Randolph is] making sure he stops right there because he'll take off for third there if you let him," Showalter said of Guerrero, who later scored on a Chris Davis double as the Orioles, who won, 6-3, scored four runs in the sixth.

Guerrero leads the Orioles with a .289 average, and his 160 hits are second only to Nick Markakis.

The Orioles will formally honor Guerrero before Wednesday's season finale. His first manager, former Montreal Expos skipper Felipe Alou, will attend the festivities at the slugger's request. Dominican Republic Ambassador to the United States Anibal de Castro will be at Camden Yards, too.

After stops in Montreal, Anaheim, Calif., and Arlington, Texas, Guerrero said he would always have a special place in his heart for Baltimore. "I'm very happy I did it here," he said with a smile.

And wherever he is next season, he hopes to keeping swinging at another milestone: 3,000 hits.

"I'm happy I'm healthy," Guerrero said. "And God willing, I'll keep on playing."

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