Cruz's slam sparks Rangers' rout of Angels

Cruz's slam sparks Rangers' rout of Angels

Cruz's slam sparks Rangers' rout of Angels
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers reminded the retooled Angels on Sunday night just where the order of power resides in the American League West.

That would be deep in the heart of Texas.

The Rangers destroyed the Angels and ace Jered Weaver on Mother's Day, as Nelson Cruz's grand slam was the big blow in a 13-6 victory before a sellout crowd and a national television audience.

The Rangers won two out of three from the Angels in their first series of the season. The Angels came into Arlington desperately needing to gain ground on the Rangers, and instead lost a game and dropped to eight games back in the standings. The teams will play each other 16 more times.

"It's important to win games against the teams in your division, there's no doubt about it," said Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler, who was 2-for-4 with an RBI. "The most important thing is to win games and to win series and we're able to get another series under our belt. To be honest with you, I'm not really worried about them. I'm worried about us and what we need to do to win games."

The teams have combined to win the AL West title the last five years, with the Angels winning three and the Rangers two and building to a third. The Angels tried to make up some ground in the offseason by making a big splash with free-agent signings Albert Pujols and former Rangers pitcher C.J. Wilson.

So far, it hasn't worked out. The Rangers are 23-12, while the Angels are 15-20.

The Rangers buried Weaver, scoring eight runs and sending him into a temper tantrum in the dugout. The Rangers pounded out 10 hits off Weaver, including three extra-base hits in the third inning, and 19 hits overall

"Those guys are good over there, man, and if you fall behind, let them get in hitters' counts, they're going to put damage on you," Weaver said. "Obviously, they've been doing it to a lot of people. You have to be on your 'A' game against these guys. They don't give you a chance to breathe. You have to be pretty fine with all your pitches, and that wasn't the case tonight."

Weaver had a 2-1 lead when he took the mound in the third, but the Rangers put together a two-out rally against him. Adrian Beltre singled to left field to tie the game at 2. Michael Young then doubled and David Murphy worked a walk, setting up Cruz, who has had a quiet start to the season. Cruz belted a 2-0 changeup just over the fence down the left-field line for a grand slam, the third of his career, and a 6-2 lead.

"I knew he was trying to throw a breaking pitch," Cruz said. "I was able to drive it."

The Rangers ended Weaver's night in the bottom of the fourth. Mitch Moreland led off with a single and Kinsler had a double down the left-field line. After Elvis Andrus flew out to shallow center field, Josh Hamilton lashed a double into center field for an 8-2 lead.

"It was awesome," Hamilton said of the Rangers' attack against Weaver. "It's a fun lineup to be a part of. Every night somebody steps up or all of us or the bottom of the lineup."

The divide between the teams also can be found with the each team's superstar -- the Rangers' Hamilton and the Angels' Pujols.

Hamilton, on a ridiculous tear -- nine home runs in seven games -- didn't hit one on Sunday, but he was still 2-for-5 with three RBIs. Pujols was a quiet 1-for-4 with an RBI and 2-for-11 in the series.

Hamilton ends the series with Triple Crown numbers. He is batting .402 with 18 home runs and 44 RBIs to lead the AL in all three categories. Hamilton had nine home runs and 18 RBIs this week.

Pujols meanwhile is batting .196 with one home run and 12 RBIs. Wilson has pitched well for the Angels, but did lose Friday's game.

Rangers starter Neftali Feliz worked well with the big lead, retiring 13 of the last 15 batters he faced in his six innings. He allowed a walk to Mike Trout in the fifth inning and a two-out double to Mark Trumbo in the sixth.

Trumbo gave the Angels a brief lead in the top of the second inning, hitting a towering two-run home run to left field.

The Angels did get to Mark Lowe in the seventh inning, scoring three runs to make it 10-5 and loading the bases with two outs for Howie Kendrick. He hit a grounder back up the middle that Andrus flagged down and flipped on a bounce running away from Kinsler at second base. Kinsler caught the ball just in time for the third out.

"We've done that play enough that I know there's a chance he could go with his glove," Kinsler said. "I was ready for it and he gave me a good enough flip."

The Rangers came right back and scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh on RBIs by Moreland, Kinsler and Hamilton, creating yet another divide with the Angels, this one an eight-run lead.

"You have to be pretty good coming into this place," Weaver said. "These guys are pretty good at home. That's been proven. They've got a good ballclub over there, man. And if you dig yourself a hole before you get out there, that's pretty much a game won for them already."

Todd Wills is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.