Sports

Cruz, Hamilton have big nights in Rangers' win over Angels

ARLINGTON -- At some point this afternoon, Josh Hamilton will be selected the American League Player of the Week.

If not, either the world has come to an end or all Texas Rangers games the past week were somehow blacked out at the Major League Baseball offices in New York.

He was back at it again Sunday night, going 2 for 5 with three more RBIs to boost his weeklong totals to nine homers and 18 runs driven in.

But the man hitting one spot ahead of him had a decent week, too, which he capped in the finale against Anaheim with his best game of the season.

Elvis Andrus went 4 for 5 and made a spectacular defensive play in a tight spot in the seventh inning as the Rangers charged to a 13-6 victory against the Angels and their ace, Jered Weaver.

Nelson Cruz also went 4 for 5 and hit a grand slam in the third inning as the Rangers scored five times with two outs. The outburst backed Neftali Feliz, who allowed two runs in six innings.

"We were able to take advantage of the opportunities we had," manager Ron Washington said. "Neftali was able to really command his fastball.

"We've been waiting for that [from Cruz]. I'm happy he's starting to come around. He can get very hot and carry us."

Hamilton, who had a three-game streak with a homer snapped, finished the game with a .402 average, 18 homers and 44 RBIs. Andrus has reached base in 31 straight games, and his four-hit game matched his career-high.

The Rangers won 2 of 3 games from the Angels in the first of six series between the two clubs expected to contend for the American League West crown.

The victory left the Rangers eight games ahead of the Angels, who were outscored 25-13 in the series and fell into last place in the West and are eight games behind the Rangers.

The Angels had only four hits against Feliz. The first was a two-run shot by Mark Trumbo that carried into the second deck in left field and put the Angels in 2-1 lead.

But Feliz retired 14 of the final 17 batters he faced while improving to 3-1.

The Rangers led 10-2 when Feliz exited, and the Angels scored three times and collected five hits as Mark Lowe could record only two outs in the seventh. Koji Uehara replaced Lowe with the bases loaded, and Howie Kendrick sent a grounder up the middle that ordinarily would have gone into center field.

Andrus, though, went behind second base, snared the ball and flung it with his glove to Ian Kinsler, who stepped on the bag just ahead of Trumbo to end the inning.

The play generated a sigh of relief among the ninth consecutive sellout crowd at Rangers Ballpark, and stunted the Angels' momentum as they tried to dig out of the hole they fell into with Weaver on the mound.

Hamilton chased the right-hander with a double that plated the seventh and eighth runs against Weaver in only 31/3 innings. The eight runs matched Weaver's career-high, and it was his shortest outing since 2009.

First base was open when Hamilton came to the plate, but Weaver had struck him out twice in the game. The Angels elected to pitch to Hamilton, who didn't miss his pitch.

"Weaver can make his pitches and doesn't make many mistakes," Washington said. "He got him pretty good the first two times. Why wouldn't you pitch to him?"

The Rangers handed Weaver (5-1) his first loss of the season and made his ERA jump more than a run from 1.60 to 2.83.

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram

  Comments