Cruz, who leads the team in home runs (27) and RBI (76), was suspended for 50 games for violating Major League Baseball’s drug policy with his involvement with the Biogenesis case. But for those who left the Rangers for dead with Cruz gone through the regular season, the Rangers didn’t get that message.
“Does it hurt us more than losing Matt Harrison for almost the whole year, Colby Lewis for the whole season?” said catcher A.J. Pierzynski. “We’ve lost guys, we’ve gained guys, obviously Nelly’s numbers are what they are, the presence is what it is but at the end of the day no one is going to feel sorry for us because there’s other teams out there dealing with the same thing.”
The Angels have now dropped five straight to the Rangers (63-50) and are 2-8 against their division rivals this season. Jerome Williams (5-8) took his sixth loss in his last nine starts and hasn’t added to the win column since June 12.
“He (Williams) was a little bit more erratic tonight than maybe we saw in Texas last week,” said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. “He battled and made some pitches to keep us in the game.”
There were opportunities for the Angels (51-60): Twice, they loaded the bases but couldn’t come up with the clutch two-out hit needed.
“We squared some balls up and didn’t have a lot to show for it,” Scioscia said. “That definitely could have put the game in our favor.”
Martin Perez (4-3) earned his second win straight win over the Angels. The lefty got the bats swinging with a changeup he established early and went to often, finishing with seven strikeouts and two earned runs.
Joe Nathan earned the save, his 33rd of the season.
The Angels held a 1-0 lead until the fifth inning when the game began to unravel. It’s a familiar theme, as the Halos have led at some point in six of their last eight losses.
After Williams loaded the bases and threw a wild pitch to score David Murphy, a fly ball by Elvis Andrus proved disastrous. Howie Kendrick and Collin Cowgill got crossed up trying to catch Andrus’ blooper in shallow right field, with Cowgill sliding into Kendrick sending him tumbling and Andrus all the way to third.
Kendrick injured his knee on the play ultimately leaving the game, although he was able to walk off the field with assistance from the training staff. It was diagnosed as a hyperextension and he is listed as day-to-day and will have an MRI to confirm the diagnosis tomorrow.
“Cowgill and both tried to make a play on the ball. I didn’t really even see him and the next thing I know, we’re running into each other,” Kendrick said. “I haven’t really even seen the replay at all. All I know is that I ended up hitting him somewhere and then my knee locked up from there and then I rolled over. I was in a lot of pain at the time.”
For the Rangers, the absent teammate and clubhouse leader was still on their mind following the win. Shortstop Elvis Andrus dedicated the win to Cruz and the team continued to stress the fact that they can and will continue to win without him.
“We’re not really worried about who’s not on the field,” said second baseman Ian Kinsler “We’re worried about who is on the field and if we’re winning.”
Baseball will go on, with or without the 12 suspended players.