Rapid Reaction: Rangers 6, M's 4
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Nelson Cruz became just the third player in modern baseball history to homer in his first four games of a season, helping the Rangers to a 6-4 victory over Seattle Monday night at the Ballpark in Arlington.
Cruz, who homered in all three wins of the opening series against Boston, launched a 419-foot solo blast over the wall in left-center to join Willie Mays (1971) and Mark McGwire (1998).
Shortstop Elvis Andrus homered for the first time since Sept. 2, 2009, to stake the Rangers to a lead they would not relinquish.
The Rangers' 4-0 start is their best since 1996, when the team won its first seven games.
* Neftali Feliz earned his first save in his first attempt with 1-2-3 ninth inning.
* The Rangers continue to play long ball. Two more home runs on Monday give Texas 13 home runs in 32 innings. But they need some work on getting runners on base before going deep. So far, 10 have been solo homers.
* Granted it is just four games into a 162-game regular season, but new catcher Yorvit Torrealba has impressed by being adept at blocking pitches in the dirt.
Twice Torrealba saved Derek Holland in the fourth inning by blocking pitches in the dirt with Seattle’s Brendan Ryan at the plate and the tying run at third base.
* Seattle right fielder Ichiro Suzuki was charged with only four errors in 160 games last season, but he made a critical misplay in a two-run Rangers’ second inning.
Suzuki failed to glove a line drive off the bat of Torrealba.
Suzuki, charged with an error on the play, seemed to be fooled when Torrealba’s line drive stayed up. The right fielder had gone to his knees and seemed surprised when the ball hit him in the chest.
In the eighth inning, Suzuki very nearly committed a second error when he overran a ground ball single to right, but he recovered before Michael Young could take an extra base.
* Shortstop Andrus might have known he was in for a special night by the way Monday’s game started.
Andrus made a highlight play on the first batted ball of the game, ranging behind second to field Suzuki’s ground ball and throw him out by the margin of mustard on a stadium hotdog.
In the bottom of the first, Andrus ended his homerless streak of 705 plate appearances with a blast seven rows up in left-field seats.
* Monday’s attendance on a rather brisk evening that started at 64 degrees was 37,618, including a walk-up crowd of 6,874. The supply of promotional replica championship rings was exhausted and the club issued vouchers for those that did not receive rings. A new shipment is scheduled to arrive the first week of May.
* Fox Sports Southwest recorded its best-ever rating for a Rangers Opening Day telecast and had it topped two days later, according to Nielsen Media Research.
The Rangers’ 9-5 victory opening the 2011 season on Friday averaged a 5.5 Nielsen household rating in Dallas-Fort Worth, a 161% increase over last year’s 2.1 Opening Day rating against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Opening Day rating was bested on Sunday with a 5.7 household average. Saturday’s game on Fox Sports Southwest averaged a 4.4 household rating.
An average of 141,700 households in Dallas-Fort Worth tuned in Friday to watch the Rangers begin their defense of the American League championship, while an average of 115,200 homes watched Saturday’s game, and 147,900 homes tuned in to watch the Rangers complete the sweep of the Boston Red Sox on Sunday.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.