Texas Rangers: Interleague
With Michael Young at first and one out, Cruz hit a ball that was caught, then dropped by center fielder Justin Maxwell. The third base umpire, Tim McClelland ruled Maxwell dropped the ball.
It appeared Cruz and Young didn't know the ball was dropped in center field. The relay throw to the infield got a little crazy. Cruz passed Young between first and second base. So first baseman Carlos Lee tagged Cruz. Young was also tagged, but he stood on first base when it happened.
The ruling on the field was Cruz was out but Young was safe because he got back to the bag at first and didn't touch second base. The thinking is Young was OK because he was standing on a bag and Cruz wasn't.
Houston Astros officials called Elias Sports Bureau to determine if should Cruz get a hit. He was credited with one, his third of the day, but he was tagged out 3 unassisted.
It was Cruz's seventh three-hit game of the season.
HOUSTON -- The finale of Part I of the Silver Boot series goes to the Rangers, a 6-1 winner on Sunday afternoon over the Houston Astros.
Credit a five-run first inning and Colby Lewis with getting things done. Lewis ended a personal three-game losing streak with eight strong innings and was taken out after allowing a ninth-inning home run to Jed Lowrie to end the shutout and complete game bid.
Lewis with a solid effort: Right-hander Colby Lewis moved to 4-3 on the season with a wonderful pitching performance. He threw a season-high 123 pitches and allowed just one run on four hits through eight innings. It was Lewis' longest outing of the season. Lewis was given a five-run lead in the first inning and made it hold up. He retired 15 of 17 hitters in the middle innings and almost made everyone forget his personal three-game losing streak. The Rangers average 5.71 runs per game when he's on the mound and that trend continued Sunday.
First inning gets it started: Things got off fast for the Rangers against Astros starter Jordan Lyles. Josh Hamilton drove in the first run with a sac fly to center and then a pair of two-run singles from Nelson Cruz and Colby Lewis, yeah, Colby Lewis, pushed the lead to 5-0. Lewis, while excellent on the mound, was just as good at the plate, getting two hits, both singles and driving in two runs. It's the third time in interleague play a Ranger pitcher has produced a multi-RBI game. Darren Oliver was the first Ranger to do it, June 18, 1997 against Colorado and Lewis, who has now done it twice. Lewis first got it done on June 13, 2010 versus Milwaukee. Lewis has also produced the third two-hit game by a Rangers pitcher since the start of interleague play. Chan Ho Park and Lewis have done it.
Silver Boot stuff: While the Rangers took their first series since taking two-of-three from Los Angeles of Anaheim (May 11-13), the Silver Boot will remain in Arlington until the teams meet again June 15-17. The Rangers have won eight of the last 11 meetings between the teams and is 11-4 in the series since 2010. Houston hasn't won a series over Texas since June 24-26, 2008.
Notes: Ian Kinsler has struck out six times the last two games. Saturday night he struck out four times and twice on Sunday. Kinsler did, however, single to leadoff the game and eventually score. ... The 113,261 fans who attended the three-game set is the largest in the Silver Boot series since 2007. ... It didn't seem as if Nelson Cruz (tight quad) had any problems running around the bases. he ran hard with little problems after getting a seventh-inning single. Cruz went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI. ... Elvis Andrus' two hits continued his team lead with 17 multi-hit games this season. Andrus has 12 games with at least two hits. ... Adrian Beltre caught a pop fly that maybe hit one of the support beams in the roof at Minute Maid Park. A popup by Brian Bogusevic in the first seemed to hit one of the support beams high above the third base dugout. After Beltre caught the ball he smiled and said something to Lewis, to maybe indicate something weird happened. Astros manager Brad Mills came out to ask the umpiring crew to talk about it, which they did but they ruled the ball was clean.
What's next?: Rangers start a three-game set at Seattle with a good matchup in Game 1. Yu Darvish takes on Felix Hernandez. It's the first opponent the Rangers meet in a series for the second time.
His manager, Ron Washington, said he wasn't pulling his utility man out of the lineup.
Young snapped an 0-for-11 slide Friday night with a single in his first at bat during Friday night's 4-1 victory over the Astros.
Young was dealing with some troubles at the plate. In the just completed seven-game homestand, Young hit .148 with just one extra-base hit. Young also had one RBI in the last nine games.
But Friday night, Young had two hits, a walk and one RBI and has picked up a hit in all but 10 of 38 games this season.
"I don't get down on myself and I just concern myself with results," Young said. "I try and make sure I'm focusing on the right things. Obviously when you're not hitting the ball consistently hard, it's time to focus on some fundamentals and try to lock yourself back in. You definitely want to continue to build and keep improving."
Maybe it was the perfect time for Young to leave Arlington and come here. Lifetime at Minute Maid Park, Young is 45-for-127 with 17 RBIs. His numbers are among the highest lifetime for hitters with at least 100 at-bats.
Coming into the game Friday, Young was hitting .333 against Houston since 2009.
"I've been through (tough) stretches before," he said. "I know how to battle through them. The way I see it, anytime there's a cold streak, there's a hot streak right around the corner. Anytime you get out of this, you're better for it. That's the way I look at it."
Friday night, Nathan earned his ninth save of the season in the Rangers' 4-1 victory over the Astros. Nathan was pitching for the fourth consecutive game. It's the first time Nathan has done so since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2010.
Nathan had a 1-2-3 ninth inning, throwing 21 pitches.
"I felt strong, I felt sharp," he said. "I made sure I threw strikes. I didn't want to go 3-2 with the first two guys, but I know in situations you can't walk guys. I tried to keep pumping strikes and get guys to put them in play."
There was concern about Nathan's availability after pitching three consecutive days, and manager Ron Washington wasn't sure before the game if his closer could or wanted to do it.
Washington said he would ask Nathan about his ability to pitch for a fourth consecutive day and the closer responded well.
The Rangers didn't have setup man Mike Adams available, so Washington juggled the bullpen responsibilities by moving Koji Uehara to Adams' spot.
Uehara threw a scoreless eighth inning, extending his scoreless streak to 10 1/3 innings. His ERA is now 1.26.
That left the ninth for Nathan, who threw the fastball with consistency on both sides of the plate.
It was the first time Nathan has pitched four consecutive days since Sept. 13-16, 2009, when he pitched for Minnesota.
"I know it's been a while, but I had Tommy John," Nathan said. "I knew we weren't going to do it in 2010 because I didn't throw an inning (due to the surgery). It was kind of tough to do it in a comeback year (2011). I think everybody with the Twin Cities were cautious in 2011. I think I threw only one back-to-back maybe once that year. It's a situation where I'm feeling better, I'm feeling stronger and I think everybody here is getting more comfortable putting me out there on consecutive days."
Nathan has gone three innings over the last three games with five strikeouts, posting a 0.71 ERA. He is tied for fourth in the AL with eight saves.
"I haven't talked to him yet, but if there's a closing situation, you will see Nathan," Rangers manager Ron Washington said before the game.
Washington said reliever Mike Adams is not available to pitch. He's thrown 11 pitches the last two days, including six Thursday in taking the loss to the Oakland A's.
Washington said Koji Uehara will replace Adams out of the bullpen in the late innings. Uehara extended his scoreless streak to 9 1/3 innings with a scoreless eighth inning Tuesday night vs. Kansas City. He hasn't allowed a run since giving up a home run April 21 at Detroit. He leads AL pitchers with a 15-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Michael Young, baring a sudden change, will play all three games in this NL park.
Young is slumping.
He's hitless in his last 11 at bats and went .148 on the just completed seven-game homestand.
Washington said it's not a hard decision to keep Young in the lineup and play first base despite what Mitch Moreland is doing.
Moreland hit .429 over the last seven games, with eight RBIs and three home runs.
"I'm not taking Michael out of the lineup," Washington said. Later he said, "he's going to come out of this. He just doesn't look very comfortable and that happens, and sometimes you can't find that spot in that box to get comfortable. It's like most things, when you're talking about a tremendous guy that has a great eye-hand coordination. It could happen today."
Starter Derek Holland said he had one bullpen session this week and feels good about his start Saturday night against Lucas Harrell. Holland said he couldn't remember how many pitches he threw in the session but didn't work on anything specifically.
Nolan Ryan and Josh Hamilton were sought after people by the Houston media.
Ryan said he's happy to see the Astros playing much better than last year and follows them every game.
Hamilton said it was good to have a day off and even noted, "I slept in a little bit and I came in and I relaxed a little bit and didn't have to rush and get a routine in."
On his 16-game hitting streak ending after he came in as a pinch-hitter Thursday: "I didn't know what type of hitting streak I was on."
Hamilton said Nathan informed him the streak was over.
"Whatever, show up and play," Hamilton said.
The Rangers lead Houston, 6-0, midway through the third inning at Rangers Ballpark.
Hamilton’s interleague batting average of .374 coming into tonight’s game was 10 points better than No. 2 Dustin Pedroia.
Since 2010, Hamilton in interleague games was batting .485 with five homers and 18 RBIs before tonight.
Against Astros starter J.A. Happ, Hamilton lined a single to center in a three-run first inning. With two out in the second, Hamilton drove a Happ pitch off the wall in left-center, burning Michael Bourn, who plays a shallow center field.
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.