Nelson Cruz, the former Texas Rangers slugger now slugging for the Seattle Mariners and a friend to the Do It For Durrett Foundation, has been hit by a lot of pitches this season.
He was hit for an AL-leading ninth time in the first inning Tuesday night, and two innings later Nomar Mazara got plunked on a Felix Hernandez pitch that was no where close to any of the others he had thrown to that point.
Mariners manager Scott Servais is tired of seeing Cruz get hit, especially by Rangers pitchers. He was hit on his food the last time the Rangers were in town and missed a couple games.
Was the pitch Mazara wore intentional? Maybe.
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Did Austin Bibens-Dirkx throw inside to Cruz in his next at-bat? Nope, and Cruz hit a home run.
That was the most curious thing to happen Tuesday night.
(FYI, tickets for the June 27 event are going fast. Get yours at doitfordurrett.com/shop.)
Here's some Rangers Reaction from a 9-5 victory.
1. The Mariners had just tied the game with an eighth-inning run against Chris Martin, and that brought Seattle closer Edwin Diaz into the game.
To say Diaz has been good this season would be an insult. He's been great, and even when the Rangers loaded the bases with one out, there was a sense that he would wiggle free.
Part of that sense — let's be honest — is because Rougned Odor was coming to the plate.
But lest anyone forget that Odor has had late-inning success against Diaz. Remember Aug. 30, 2016, when Odor hit a fastball off his shoelaces for a walk-off homer?
Odor was on his was to becoming a star worth, in the Rangers' minds, $49.5 million over six years. A case could be made that he hasn't been that player since that hit.
So what happened nearly two years later? Odor cleared the bases with an opposite-field double on a 2-2 pitch to snap a 5-5 tie.
"He's a lot like me," Odor said. "He likes to compete, and I like to face him."
In so doing, Odor improved to 8 for 22 in his past five games.
That's something, even though the key for him is to sustain it.
"It goes a long way in building his confidence," manager Jeff Banister said. "Anytime a guy goes into the cage and does the work that he's doing, for it to show up on the field is huge. The belief system in what he's doing is key."
Ronald Guzman followed with an RBI single, his fourth hit of the game. Guzman's confidence is soaring, as it should be, even though he had been riding a mini 0-for-9 slump.
He said that he was seeing the ball well and that he continued do so Tuesday as he reached base five times. The first of his RBIs in the second inning helped the Rangers start their comeback from a 3-1 deficit.
Having moved past 100 at-bats and into his second month in the majors, Guzman is getting smarter at the plate.
"I feel very comfortable now," he said. "I feel I can make my own adjustments. In the beginning, you probably want to hear some advice from people that have been here a long time. Now I understand a little bit what it's like up here."
2. Adrian Beltre will be back soon, very soon. Thursday soon. Maybe Friday soon because it's going to be a tad on the chilly side at Safeco.
Still soon, though, to be followed by a lineup shell game in which players try to follow where they will land in the lineup on days in which Beltre is given a game at designated hitter.
That could happen multiple times a week.
Shin-Soo Choo will be at DH, play some in right field and maybe in left, where he shagged balls Tuesday during batting practice.
Mazara will be in right field and in left at other times.
Joey Gallo will be in left field and at first base, but apparently not third.
Each could see time on the bench for an occasional game.
All of that — not to mention a reduction in playing time for Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Guzman — will be in play as the Rangers welcome back their future Hall of Famer and attempt like mad to keep him from going on the DL for a third time this season.
Is all of that worth it? Well, yeah. When healthy, Beltre is the Rangers' best player. Kiner-Falefa and Guzman, though they have served the Rangers well during the early-season injury crisis and have been a glimpse into the future, are fill-in.
Guzman stands to play more than Kiner-Falefa, who will play third when Beltre is the DH. Kiner-Falefa could also be used at shortstop to give Jurickson Profar a day off and at second if Rougned Odor needs a break or continues to be ineffective.
Once Elvis Andrus returns, well, who knows what will have happened to the Rangers by then.
But something will have to give then, too.
3. The sixth inning was completely off the rails, and it wasn't the Rangers who went careening off track.
The Rangers opened with a double by Mazara, a single by Kiner-Falefa and a walk to Joey Gallo to end another mediocre start for Hernandez. In came left-hander James Pazos, and the Mariners' 4-2 lead was about to vanish.
His first pitch was wild and allowed Mazara to score from third. Pazos' second pitch was ruled a passed ball as catcher Mike Zunino flat missed it. That allowed Kiner-Falefa to score.
Pazos seemed to collect himself, striking out Odor, but even that was wonky. Plate ump Jerry Meals didn't ring up Odor, instead just calling a strike. That sent the Mariners' dugout (and many fans) into a frenzy, but the error was quickly corrected.
Guzman delivered a hit third single of the game to score Gallo, and then backup catcher Carlo Perez was hit by a Ryan Cook pitch. Cook's next pitch was inside, and Meals said that it hit Delino DeShields.
Only a successful Mariners challenged saved them from an inning with a wild pitch and a passed ball on consecutive pitches and hit batters on consecutive batters.
There was another count issue (a miscount?) in the bottom of the sixth, when Zunino thought he had walked on a 2-2 pitch. He then struck out on the next pitch.
Get all of that? It was a pretty funky inning, but one in which the Rangers grabbed the lead and then didn't surrender it.
Come to think of it, that's a bit funky, too.