Sunday, May 13, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Rangers 13, Angels 6
By Richard Durrett
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers poured in five runs in the third on their way to a 13-6 blowout win over the Los Angeles Angels. Every starter in the lineup got on base and only David Murphy didn't have a hit (though he drew a big walk in the third that led to Nelson Cruz's grand slam).
What it means: The Rangers take two of three from the Angels and are now five games up on Oakland and eight up on the Angels in the AL West.
Boomstick is back: Cruz, who was hitting .254 on the season and was starting to get more comfortable at the plate (.283 average over the past 13 games before Sunday), hit a two-out grand slam in the third inning off Jered Weaver. The homer went just 344 feet, but it was Cruz's first since April 17 in Boston and the third grand slam of his career. One of those previous grand slams was against the Angels on Aug. 16, 2006. The other was April 15, 2009 vs. Baltimore. ... Of course, Cruz's biggest grand slam was Game 2 of the 2011 ALCS, when he hit the first postseason walk-off grand slam in big league history (11th inning vs. Detroit). ... He finished with four hits, tying a career high. It's his first four-hit game of the season and first since August. ... Cruz was a triple shy of the cycle.
Hamilton doubles: Angels manager Mike Scioscia had the dilemma of either intentionally walking Josh Hamilton with runners at second and third with one out to face Adrian Beltre (who already had two RBIs on the night) or pitching to Hamilton. Weaver had struck Hamilton out twice, so they pitched to him, and the slugger hit a double to right-center to score two. He added an RBI single in the seventh and has a major league-leading 44 RBIs in 32 games. He hit 18 of those RBIs -- nearly 41 percent of them -- in the past seven games to go along with nine homers. What a week.
Broken (homer) bat: Hamilton broke the bat he used to hit his four home runs in Baltimore (and eight of his nine homers this week) late in Sunday's game, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney. It is likely headed to the Hall of Fame. Hamilton did use a pink bat earlier in the game as part of MLB's Mother's Day initiative (breast cancer awareness). But he did switch back to his regular bat and broke it on his RBI single in the seventh.
Web-gem for Elvis: Elvis Andrus made a terrific defensive play to end the seventh inning. The Angels already had three runs and had the bases loaded looking to make it a game. Howard Kendrick, the ninth batter in the inning, hit a grounder up the middle. Andrus sprinted to his left, gloved it behind the bag and flipped it from his glove to Ian Kinsler covering second to get the force and end the threat. It was a tremendous play just when the Rangers needed it. ... Andrus stayed hot at the plate, too, matching his career high with four-hits. It's the eighth time he has done that and four of those are against the Angels.
Walks hurt Rangers (again): Matt Harrison knows exactly how Neftali Feliz feels. Just like Harrison on Saturday, Feliz walked the batter ahead of Mark Trumbo and paid for it as Trumbo crushed a ball to the second deck in left field to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 Angels lead.
Mammoth shot: Trumbo's homer was estimated at the ballpark at 437 feet. He's just the 16th player to hit a home run to the club level in left field and the first since Cruz hit one 432 feet on April 8, 2009 vs. Cleveland. Trumbo is one of only three opponents to reach the club level in left. He joins Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria (June 6, 2008) and Mark McGwire (July 5, 1997). McGwire's went 447 feet (Longoria 442).
Feliz gets quality start: He wasn't dominant, but Feliz enjoyed plenty of run support and managed to get through six innings. He gave up two runs -- the Trumbo homer -- and had five strikeouts and two walks.
Beltre delivers: Beltre drove in runs for the Rangers in the first and third. He hit a sacrifice fly in the first and a single in the third. Andrus, who was at second, was waved home by third base coach Dave Anderson on the single, and while Vernon Wells' throw was a good one, it wasn't there quick enough to get Andrus. That RBI tied the score.
Lowe struggles: Mark Lowe came in with a 0.78 ERA and gave up three runs in the seventh inning. He had given up one run in 11 2/3 innings this season before that. His ERA is now 2.92.
Big walk: Murphy was the only Rangers starter without a hit Sunday, but he did walk after falling behind 0-2 in the third. That walk loaded the bases with two outs for Cruz, who hit the grand slam.
Tidbits: Koji Uehara had another good performance. He gave up one hit and had one strikeout in 1 1/3 innings. He now has a 1.46 ERA this season. ... Albert Pujols had two hits during the series, both singles. ... Closer Joe Nathan, who hasn't had a ton of work the last week, came in to pitch the ninth. He gave up a homer to Kendrys Morales with two outs.
Up next: The Kansas City Royals come to town. It's likely that Scott Feldman starts for the Rangers against LHP Bruce Chen.