Designated hitter Lance Berkman was in the lineup again, but back in the No. 5 spot after going 0-for-4 in Tuesday's 6-2 loss to the A's. The Rangers are 1-7 in their last eight games and have scored 10 runs in their losses.
Cruz batted in the No. 3 spot in seven games down the stretch in 2010 and was successful as the Rangers clinched the American League West. He batted .355 with a home run, four doubles and two RBIs.
"It's the nature of who I am playing out there," Washington said of making out his lineup the last two weeks.
Some normalcy returned with the top two spots in the lineup back to the familiar look of second baseman Ian Kinsler leading off and shortstop Elvis Andrus batting second.
Profar gets learning moment: Young infielder Jurickson Profar made a rookie mistake Tuesday night in the first inning when he laid down a bunt with Kinsler clearly having second base stolen. The Rangers were in a running situation with A's catcher John Jaso throwing out 9.5 percent of would-be base-stealers.
Profar still got a sacrifice bunt, but it was an at-bat where you'd rather no give up the out. The preference would have been for Profar to pull the bat back.
"I wish he hadn't of (bunted), but that's the way it went," Washington said.
Lindblom to start Thursday: The Rangers send out another starter who has struggled with giving up the long ball when Josh Lindblom starts Thursday against the A's.
Lindblom allowed two home runs in what was otherwise a solid start Saturday against Toronto, allowing four runs on six innings.
Lindblom knows he can't make mistakes against the A's, who with 22 home runs have hit the second-most long balls in the AL this month. He also saw teammate Yu Darvish allow two home runs to the A's on Tuesday night to fall behind 3-0.
"It's a matter of whether you go out there and execute your pitches or not, just like Wash said," Lindblom said.
More on Kinsler's stitches: Washington said that when Kinsler was cut during his collision at home plate with A's catcher John Jaso, it wasn't immediately known if the second baseman would return in the game.
But Rangers team physician Dr. Keith Meister, who has done work with hockey players when he was with the Dallas Stars from 2005-08, told the training staff that he could get Kinsler ready to go. Hockey players get stitched up all the time and return to the ice minutes later.
"Dr. Meister is a hockey man," Washington said. "He said let's get him stiches and get him back out there."
Kinsler, who received three stitches, said he hasn't seen a replay and doesn't feel any effects from the collision. He said Dr. Meister didn't have to replace the stitches after the game because he did such a good job.
The toughest part was laying down for 15 minutes or and having to race back onto the field, Kinsler said.
"I got back to my position and I was like, 'whew,'" Kinsler said.