Boomstick is back: Nelson Cruz powers win
ARLINGTON, Texas -- It wasn't Game 2 of the ALCS, but Nelson Cruz's grand slam in the third inning Sunday did ignite a sellout crowd of 46,669 and served as further proof that he is hitting his way out of an early-season funk.
Cruz mashed the homer 344 feet to left field, just going over the wall and inside the foul pole to turn a 2-2 game into a 6-2 Rangers lead. Adrian Beltre, on third base when Cruz hit the blast, jumped up and down as the dugout erupted. The homer was only the start for a Rangers offense that pounded out 19 hits and 13 runs in the 13-6 victory, taking two of three from the Los Angeles Angels.
|Josh Hamilton just finished one of the greatest weeks of all time, but do the Rangers actually want to sign him? Also, C.J. Wilson gets booed by the fans and the guys say it was in poor taste. |
It was Cruz's third grand slam of his career in the regular season. And of course he had a big one in extra innings in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series in 2011 vs. Detroit, becoming the first player in big league history to hit a postseason walk-off grand slam.
But Cruz had actually been building toward Sunday's four-hit night. He was batting .283 in his last 13 games after starting the season so poorly. And despite hitting just .228 (11-for-48) off Jered Weaver, Cruz used all parts of the field and felt good.
"I said before that I felt like my swing was there, just not the results," Cruz said. "I thought it would come. It's good to see it."
Cruz wasn't the only hitter that performed well Sunday. Elvis Andrus was 4-for-5 and is hitting .328 this season. Mike Napoli, who has been scuffling the past few weeks, was 3-for-4. In fact, every starter in the lineup got on base and only one didn't have a hit was David Murphy.
But Murphy had one of the biggest at-bats of the game. He was down 0-2 in the count and worked it back to 3-2 before walking to load the bases for Cruz in the third. Cruz followed with the grand slam.
"It's a fun lineup to be a part of," Josh Hamilton said. "Every night somebody steps up. Either all of us, or bottom of the lineup or top of the lineup. It flip-flops or varies, which is a good thing to be able to say as a team. It's just fun to be a part of."
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett for his weekly visit to discuss the magnitude of Monday's win against Oakland, how he plans on using Jurickson Profar and how to handle a struggling ballclub.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway & Company to discuss the Rangers' six-game losing streak and how to get out of their slump.
Play Podcast General manager Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the Rangers' offensive struggles, injuries and the plan for Jurickson Profar once Ian Kinsler returns from the disabled list.
Play Podcast Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett for his weekly visit to discuss the Rangers and a potential game-changing trade target for Jon Daniels and company.
Play Podcast Neal Cotts joins Galloway & Company to discuss pitching for the Rangers.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway & Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, the mistakes the team has been making and possible trades.
Play Podcast Steve Busby joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to talk about the Rangers' road trip, surviving an 18-inning game and more.
Play Podcast Eric Nadel, the radio voice of the Texas Rangers, explains on Galloway & Company the bullpen situation that forced Ron Washington's hand in the Boston finale.