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Texas (25-17) «0003120006111
Houston (18-23)100000200361

Cruz goes yard twice to again help Rangers past Astros

CBSSports.com wire reports
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HOUSTON -- Nelson Cruz made a strong argument Saturday for regular time in the cleanup spot of the Texas Rangers' lineup.

Cruz homered twice and Hank Blalock also connected to lead the Rangers to a 6-3 victory over the Houston Astros.

Cruz, who lifted Texas to a 6-5 victory over the Astros with a 10th-inning homer Friday night, batted fourth for only the second time this season. He finished with four RBI.

"I like to just be in the lineup," said Cruz, who has batted sixth 20 times and fifth in 11 games this year. "It doesn't matter to me where I hit.

"I found out [about the cleanup spot] when I got here today. I didn't get excited. Being in the lineup is the thing. That's the main difference, knowing you'll be there regardless of what you do."

Cruz is batting .314 (22 for 70) over his last 18 starts and manager Ron Washington said he could see more time in the fourth spot.

"If he can lay off bad breaking balls, there's no reason he can't hit there," Washington said. "He has been hitting pretty well lately."

Scott Feldman pitched a season-high 6 2/3 innings and Blalock finished with three hits for the Rangers, who won their second straight in this season's Lone Star series. Feldman (3-0) allowed three runs and five hits, impressing Astros manager Cecil Cooper.

"His command was much better," Cooper said. "The last time we faced him, we beat him up pretty good."

Miguel Tejada and Geoff Blum homered for Houston, which has lost three straight and is last in the NL Central. Brian Moehler (1-3) gave up six runs and nine hits in five-plus innings.

"I don't know what's going on," Carlos Lee said. "We've got good players and a lot of guys do the right thing. But it just isn't happening. It's confusing. I can't explain it."

Tejada's first-inning drive to right led to the first replay review of the season at Minute Maid Park. Washington argued a fan interfered with the ball but the umpires upheld the home run after watching the replay.

Cruz hit a three-run homer in the fourth to give Texas a 3-1 lead. Omar Vizquel led off with a single and Josh Hamilton doubled with one out ahead of Cruz's full-count drive to left.

Cruz and Blalock hit back-to-back drives in the sixth to make it 6-1. Cruz hit Moehler's first pitch of the inning for his 11th of the season and Blalock followed with his 11th.

C. J. Wilson pitched the ninth for his third save in four tries.

Blum's two-run shot in the seventh cut it to 6-3. It was Blum's first home run in 176 at-bats, dating to Sept. 3. It was the longest homerless streak of his career.

Notes

  • It was Cruz's fifth multihomer game and first since he hit two against Cleveland on April 8.
  • It was the second back-to-back homers for Texas this season. Blalock and Marlon Byrd did it against Kansas City on April 17.
  • Texas 3B Michael Young missed the game with a sprained right ankle. X-rays were negative and the team said he's day to day. Blalock subbed for Young at 3B.
  • Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler got a day off for the first time this season. Vizquel made his first start of the season at second.
  • The Lone Star series is tied 25-25, including 13-13 at Minute Maid Park.
  • Houston RHP Geoff Geary, on the DL with right biceps tendinitis, threw off level ground and reported no problems.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Less than 24 hours after going deep, Nelson Cruz swings away for a couple of more dingers. (US Presswire)
Less than 24 hours after going deep, Nelson Cruz swings away for a couple of more dingers. (US Presswire)

Players of the Game
Texas

N. Cruz
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 2
RBI 4
Houston

M. Tejada
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
 

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Texas Rangers
Omar Vizquel, 2B5120001 .372
David Murphy, LF4010021 .232
Josh Hamilton, CF4110001 .237
Nelson Cruz, RF4224010 .285
Hank Blalock, 3B4131000 .250
Chris Davis, 1B4000032 .203
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C4010021 .252
Elvis Andrus, SS4110001 .290
Scott Feldman, P2000010 .000
    Darren O'Day, P0000000 .000
    Eddie Guardado, P0000000 .000
   a- Marlon Byrd, PH1000000 .289
    C.J. Wilson, P0000000 .000
Totals36611509  
a-grounded out for Guardado in the 9th
Batting
2B - David Murphy (5, Moehler), Josh Hamilton (2, Moehler), Hank Blalock (9, Moehler)
HR - Nelson Cruz 2 (11, Moehler, Moehler), Hank Blalock (11, Moehler)
SH - Scott Feldman (1)
RBI - Nelson Cruz 4 (30), Hank Blalock (25)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
E - Scott Feldman (1, Throwing)
Texas Rangers
Scott Feldman (W,3-0) 6.2533252 4.04
Darren O'Day (H,3) 0.1000110 1.29
Eddie Guardado (H,3) 1000000 5.59
C.J. Wilson (S,3) 1100000 3.50
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Feldman 105-67, Darren O'Day 8-4, Eddie Guardado 14-8, C.J. Wilson 9-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Feldman 7-7, Eddie Guardado 1-2, C.J. Wilson 2-1
Batters Faced - Scott Feldman 26, Darren O'Day 2, Eddie Guardado 3, C.J. Wilson 4
Houston Astros
Michael Bourn, CF4000022 .291
Miguel Tejada, SS4121000 .329
Lance Berkman, 1B4000011 .232
Carlos Lee, LF4010000 .325
Hunter Pence, RF3120101 .351
Geoff Blum, 3B4112001 .264
Ivan Rodriguez, C4000021 .262
Kazuo Matsui, 2B3000111 .229
Brian Moehler, P1000000 .000
    Tim Byrdak, P0000000 .000
   a- Edwin Maysonet, PH1000000 .000
    Wesley Wright, P0000000 .000
   b- Darin Erstad, PH0000100 .156
    Jeff Fulchino, P0000000 .000
Totals3236336  
a-grounded out for Byrdak in the 6th
b-walked for Wright in the 7th
Batting
HR - Miguel Tejada (5, Feldman), Geoff Blum (1, Feldman)
RBI - Miguel Tejada (25), Geoff Blum 2 (15)
CS - Hunter Pence (3, 2nd base by Feldman/Saltalamacchia)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Hunter Pence 1
E - Carlos Lee (1, Misplayed grounder)
Houston Astros
Brian Moehler (L,1-3) 5966043 8.31
Tim Byrdak 1000010 3.00
Wesley Wright 1000020 7.24
Jeff Fulchino 2200020 4.60
Pitches-Strikes - Brian Moehler 68-50, Tim Byrdak 12-8, Wesley Wright 16-10, Jeff Fulchino 22-18
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brian Moehler 6-4, Tim Byrdak 1-1, Jeff Fulchino 3-1
Batters Faced - Brian Moehler 23, Tim Byrdak 3, Wesley Wright 3, Jeff Fulchino 8
Game Information
Attendance - 36019
Game Time - 2:48
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Brian O'Nora, First Base - Field Culbreth, Second Base - Gary Cederstrom, Third Base - Jim Wolf