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Cruz returns to Texas, smashes 21st homer in win

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Nelson Cruz took a slow trot around the bases after hitting a towering three-run homer in his return to Texas.

The Baltimore Orioles slugger wasn't really savoring the moment. He was cramping so bad that he almost didn't even take that final at-bat in the eighth inning.

Cruz hit the first pitch thrown by Shawn Tolleson, the fourth Rangers reliever, an estimated 404 feet deep into the left field seats to cap a tiebreaking six-run outburst as the Orioles won 8-3 on Tuesday night.

''We were debating, he and I were,'' manager Buck Showalter said. ''He go about halfway down the first, and that was a cramp trot.''

Likening his first game against the Rangers to one of his first days in the big leagues, when everything went so fast, Cruz said he just tried to stay in the moment and stay focused.

''Kind of weird. Going from the other side of the plate is totally different than coming around like I used to,'' Cruz said. ''It was overall a good day.''

Cruz was the 2011 AL championship series MVP on the way to the Rangers' second consecutive World Series. When introduced before drawing a walk in the first, Texas fans responded with an extended ovation. While there were some boos, those seemed to be outnumbered by fans who called ''Cruuuuuzz!'' like they used to do when the left fielder was on their side the previous eight seasons.

Heading into free agency last year, Cruz missed the final 50 regular-season games for the Rangers for violating baseball's drug agreement.

Cruz turned down a $14.1 million qualifying offer in November from the Rangers, who likely would have used him primarily as a designated hitter if he had accepted. He went through the entire offseason before signing an $8 million, one-year deal with the Orioles early in spring training.

''I haven't seen him in a while and I got to see him and talk to him, playing around a little bit. It was a great feeling. I didn't like anytime he popped one,'' Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus said. ''I've seen too many when he was on this side, but he's a talented guy. Whenever he's on, he can carry a team.''

Through 55 games with the Orioles, Cruz is hitting .313 and leads the majors with 21 homers and 55 RBI.

Adam Jones matched a career high with four hits, including a homer off the right-field pole leading off the Baltimore fourth. Rookie catcher Caleb Johnson had a tiebreaking RBI double in the eighth.

Brian Matusz (2-1) went 1 2-3 innings in relief of Ubaldo Jimenez, who held Texas to one run and four hits while striking out five over 5 2/3 innings.

Alexi Ogando (2-3), the second Texas reliever, got a popup to start the eighth before allowing three straight Orioles to reach. He was gone after the double by Joseph, whose two hits matched his total in his first 11 games.

The Rangers, coming off a 7-4 record in their longest road trip this season, got two inning-starting homers: Adrian Beltre in the fourth, and Robinson Chrinos in the seventh.

Joe Saunders, the winning pitcher for Baltimore in the 2012 AL wild card game at Texas, allowed two runs and 10 hits over six-plus innings in his first home start for the Rangers. The left-hander was signed during spring training and he made the season-opening rotation before missing more than seven weeks with a stress fracture in his left ankle after being struck by a liner in his first start.

Notes

Three-time AL All-Star first baseman Jim Gentile, who played in the majors from 1957-66, attended the game on his 80th birthday. With Baltimore in 1961, he finished third in the AL MVP voting behind Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle. ... Orioles closer Tommy Hunter, on the DL since May 22 with a left groin strain, was encouraged with how he felt after a bullpen session before the game. He will do some fielding drills Wednesday, and could go out on a rehab assignment as early as Thursday.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Nelson Cruz caps off a six-run eighth inning with a towering three-run shot that helps the O's beat his former club. (USATSI)
Nelson Cruz caps off a six-run eighth inning with a towering three-run shot that helps the O's beat his former club. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Baltimore

N. Cruz
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 3
Texas

R. Chirinos
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Baltimore Orioles
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Nick Markakis, RF6131001 .304
Manny Machado, 3B5111013 .229
Nelson Cruz, LF4113103 .313
   David Lough, LF0000000 .176
Adam Jones, CF5241010 .294
Chris Davis, 1B4010115 .230
J.J. Hardy, SS5010002 .303
Delmon Young, DH5121001 .280
Jonathan Schoop, 2B4120001 .233
Caleb Joseph, C4121012 .121
Ubaldo Jimenez, P0000000 .000
   Brian Matusz, P0000000 .000
   Darren O'Day, P0000000 .000
   Preston Guilmet, P0000000 .000
Totals42817824  
Batting
2B - Jonathan Schoop (8, Saunders), Caleb Joseph (1, Ogando)
HR - Nelson Cruz (21, Tolleson), Adam Jones (7, Saunders)
RBI - Nick Markakis (19), Manny Machado (10), Nelson Cruz 3 (55), Adam Jones (31), Delmon Young (7), Caleb Joseph (2)
Team LOB - 11
Fielding
DP - Schoop-Hardy-Davis
Baltimore Orioles
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Ubaldo Jimenez 5.2411451 4.39
Brian Matusz (W,2-1; BS,2) 1.2111011 3.43
Darren O'Day 0.2100010 0.79
Preston Guilmet 1111100 5.00
Pitches-Strikes - Ubaldo Jimenez 101-62, Brian Matusz 21-15, Darren O'Day 9-7, Preston Guilmet 20-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ubaldo Jimenez 6-5, Brian Matusz 3-1
Batters Faced - Ubaldo Jimenez 24, Brian Matusz 6, Darren O'Day 3, Preston Guilmet 5
Texas Rangers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Shin-Soo Choo, DH3000211 .284
   Donnie Murphy, PR-DH0000000 .238
Elvis Andrus, SS5000014 .251
Mitch Moreland, 1B4000011 .255
Adrian Beltre, 3B4131000 .302
Alex Rios, RF3000101 .316
Michael Choice, LF3000123 .203
Leonys Martin, CF3110102 .278
Robinson Chirinos, C3122012 .231
Rougned Odor, 2B3010010 .283
Joe Saunders, P0000000 .000
   Jason Frasor, P0000000 .000
   Alexi Ogando, P0000000 .000
   Neal Cotts, P0000000 .000
   Shawn Tolleson, P0000000 .000
   Robbie Ross, P0000000 .000
Totals3137357  
Batting
2B - Robinson Chirinos (6, Jimenez)
3B - Leonys Martin (3, Guilmet)
HR - Adrian Beltre (6, Jimenez), Robinson Chirinos (3, Matusz)
SF - Robinson Chirinos (1)
SH - Rougned Odor (3)
RBI - Adrian Beltre (21), Robinson Chirinos 2 (12)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Andrus-Odor-Moreland, Andrus-Odor-Moreland-Odor-Andrus-Moreland
Texas Rangers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Joe Saunders 61022121 3.68
Jason Frasor 1100010 1.89
Alexi Ogando (L,2-3) 0.1233000 6.84
Neal Cotts 0222000 4.43
Shawn Tolleson 0.2111111 3.14
Robbie Ross 1100000 4.85
HBP - Schoop (by Alexi Ogando), Joseph (by Robbie Ross)
Pitches-Strikes - Joe Saunders 101-57, Jason Frasor 15-9, Alexi Ogando 11-6, Neal Cotts 5-2, Shawn Tolleson 16-10, Robbie Ross 16-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Saunders 6-9, Shawn Tolleson 1-0, Robbie Ross 1-1
Batters Faced - Joe Saunders 28, Jason Frasor 4, Alexi Ogando 4, Neal Cotts 2, Shawn Tolleson 4, Robbie Ross 4
Game Information
Attendance - 31542
Game Time - 3:15
Temperature - 88
Umpires - Home - Manny Gonzalez, First Base - Jim Reynolds, Second Base - Lance Barrett, Third Base - Field Culbreth