Cruz's eight RBIs propel Rangers' 12-2 romp

Posted Friday, Jul. 22, 2011  comments  Print Reprints

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ARLINGTON -- The night seemed destined to belong to Colby Lewis. The Texas Rangers starter had a no-hitter going into the sixth, and still ended up with a nice pitching line.

But Nelson Cruz stole the show.

Cruz drove in a run every time he stepped to the plate, and powered the Rangers to a 12-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night at Rangers Ballpark.

The Rangers (57-43) maintain a three-game lead in the American League West over the Los Angeles Angels, who also won Friday night.

"Monster game by Cruz," first baseman Mike Napoli said. "He helped us win, and that's all that matters."

Cruz came through early with an RBI double to left in the second, and Napoli followed with a run-scoring groundout to give the Rangers a quick 2-0 lead.

Cruz then belted a three-run homer 416 feet off Toronto starter Jo-Jo Reyes in the fourth inning. Cruz continued his tear at the plate with two-run singles in the fifth and sixth.

The eight RBIs were a career high for Cruz, and tied him for second most in club history. Ivan Rodriguez holds the club record with nine, set in 1999. The only other eight-RBI game this season belongs to Tampa Bay outfielder Ben Zobrist.

"The team has to get on base to get the swings you need, and I was lucky to get a hit every time at-bat," Cruz said.

More importantly, it should serve as a badly needed jumpstart for Cruz, who entered the game with one RBI in his past 11 games.

"I don't think I've been at the top of my game yet," said Cruz, who now has 64 RBIs. "Hopefully, the hits will keep coming."

Cruz recalled a 10-RBI night he had in the Dominican winter league, but nothing such as this in the majors. He had six-RBI games twice in the big leagues.

"What a night," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We've been waiting for Nelson to get going and he got going. You don't expect him to get eight RBIs every night; you just want to develop consistency."

Lewis also had quite a night, taking a no-hitter into the sixth after he retired 15 of the first 17 batters he faced. That included a nice running catch by left fielder Josh Hamilton to rob Aaron Hill of an extra-base hit in the fourth.

But Lewis lost it when Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia snapped a 0 for 16 slump with a solo shot to the left-field seats to lead off the sixth.

"I was aware of it, but it's hard to get 27 outs," Lewis said.

Lewis responded by retiring the next three batters, and working his way into the seventh inning. He picked up his 10th victory, allowing one run on two hits with two walks and five strikeouts over 62/3 innings.

Texas reliever Arthur Rhodes allowed one run -- another solo blast by Arencibia -- over 11/3 innings, his first outing since July 4. And Scott Feldman threw a perfect ninth in his 2011 debut.

But it wasn't all good news for the Rangers.

Third baseman Adrian Beltre left the game in the fifth inning after pulling up running into third base. Beltre has a left hamstring strain, and will have an MRI today. After the game, Beltre didn't sound too optimistic.

"It felt like a really hard grab," Beltre said. "I just hope it's not as bad as I felt it was, but I don't know."

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760

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