Major League Baseball
Cruz's 2 HRs help Rangers double up Houston
Major League Baseball

Cruz's 2 HRs help Rangers double up Houston

Published May. 24, 2009 1:47 a.m. ET

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 RBIs.

"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.


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.


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