Friday, July 22, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Rangers 12, Jays 2
By Richard Durrett
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers pounded out 12 runs on 13 hits to beat the Blue Jays, 12-2. Texas stays three games in front of the Angels, who beat Baltimore. Nelson Cruz was 4-for-4 with eight RBIs and Colby Lewis did a nice job on the mound. Adrian Beltre was injured. In other words, there's a lot going on. Here are some quick thoughts (more to come later):
* Nelson Cruz, who had been slumping of late, had a ridiculous game at the plate. He was 4-for-4 and had a career-high eight RBIs. Yes, eight. That's one shy of the club mark set by Pudge Rodriguez in 1999. Ben Zobrist is the only other player this year in the majors with eight RBIs in a game this year. He did it on April 28 at Minnesota.
* Cruz doubled in the second to drive in a run and then hit a home run on a first-pitch change-up from lefty Jo-Jo Reyes. Cruz's struggles this season have been against right-handers and the Rangers have faced a steady diet of them since the second game of the Seattle series. Cruz was hitting just .221 against righties coming in, but .323 against lefties. He batted against a right-hander in the fifth and hit a single up the middle for two more RBIs. He added another two-RBI single in the sixth. So the swing was working no matter which arm was firing the pitches.
* Cruz was hitting .186 (8-for-43) in his last 12 games before Friday. So it was a great way to break out.
* The only thing Cruz didn't do was hit a triple to get the cycle.
* The bad news from Friday night: Adrian Beltre has a strained left hamstring. Chris Davis was pulled from his Triple-A game and is likely on his way up here. Beltre will have an MRI tomorrow. He pulled up heading into third base in the fifth inning. More on that here. But this does mean more at-bats for Davis and yet another chance to show he can handle big-league pitching. I would also think it alters the club's thinking on Davis at the trade deadline. It's tough to deal him now.
* Colby Lewis had a no-hitter through five innings. He was the fourth starter in the last eight games to take a no-hitter through at least four innings. He also matched Derek Holland for the deepest no-hit effort this year (Holland did it in Seattle during the last road trip). The no-hitter and shutout ended on one swing as J.P. Arencibia went deep to left field for his 13th homer. Lewis has allowed 24 homers this season, the most in the American League.
* Lewis did it with excellent command and some good defense behind him. The slider was working particularly well ahead in the count, and he got a handful of strikeouts off it. Lewis got a big lead and didn't mess around, either. He went after hitters and got his team through 6 2/3 innings. He got a huge ovation from the crowd.
* Michael Young scored four runs Friday, only the second time in his career he's done that. He scored four on Sept. 16, 2006 against the Angels in Arlington. The four runs scored were a season-high for a Ranger. The last Texas player to do it was Josh Hamilton on Aug. 13, 2010 vs. Boston.
* The 4-5-6 hitters -- Beltre, Young and Cruz -- were 10-for-10 and had 10 RBIs.
* Hamilton made a tremendous running catch with one out in the fifth, robbing Aaron Hill of what would have been the first Blue Jay hit. Hamilton went on an all-out sprint near the warning track and caught the ball close to the wall in left.
* Craig Gentry, in the game in center against a lefty, made a great throw to home plate on a single by Edwin Encarnacion, forcing the Blue Jays to hold Adam Lind at third base.
* One advantage to a 12-1 lead in the seventh is that manager Ron Washington could get his bullpen some work. Arthur Rhodes came in for his first appearance since July 4. Rhodes said before the game he was staying prepared and waiting for his opportunity. It came on Friday.
* Scott Feldman, who hadn't pitched since he was promoted in Seattle just as the second half started, also got in the game.
* Elvis Andrus got on base on a wild pitch after striking out to lead off the fifth. He didn't waste his opportunity. He swiped second base easily and hopped up and went to third when the throw was one-hopped into center field. He scored on Beltre's single.
* Andrus committed his 17th error of the season; that's one more than all of last year. He had 22 in 2009 as a rookie.
* Kinsler made a great defensive play in the ninth, going deep into the hole behind the bag (in the grass) and then threw across his body to get the first out of the ninth.
* Nolan Ryan returned to the ballpark on Friday and feels good.