Cruz's 10th-inning double ends Rangers' skid

Cruz's 10th-inning double ends Rangers' skid

Cruz's 10th-inning double ends Rangers' skid
ARLINGTON -- Once again, the Rangers struggled with runners in scoring position and fell in an early hole. But for the first time this month, they won.

Nelson Cruz, who was moved up from the sixth to fifth spot in the lineup, knocked in Adrian Beltre from first base with a walk-off double in the 10th inning to give the Rangers a 4-3 victory over the Twins at the Ballpark in Arlington on Saturday night to snap a five-game losing streak.

"It was important that we get back on the winning side," said manager Ron Washington. "We battled tonight. We kept getting guys out there, the opportunities were there. Finally, in the 10th, Beltre and Cruz took care of things for us. The pitching was outstanding. I thought [Derek] Holland did an outstanding job. The bullpen did the rest."

In his first outing since being placed on the disabled list a month ago, Holland turned in a quality start while Joe Nathan, facing his former team, worked out of jams in the ninth and 10th to toss two scoreless innings and earn his first win. Nathan, pitching on eight days' rest, had his longest outing in three years.

"We needed this one bad," Nathan said. "You take eight days off and it's almost like Opening Day again. You're jumpy, you're excited since you haven't been out there in a while. It's nice to be well rested and feel good. But if you talk to most relievers, they would like to be in there consistently."

Beltre led the 10th off with a single to left before Cruz lined a ball off Kyle Waldrop past left fielder Josh Willingham. Beltre slid into home safely as the Rangers took their first lead of the game and recorded their second walk-off win.

"It was a team effort," Cruz said. "The first pitch, I was just looking to see what he had. I hadn't faced him before. After that, I was trying to drive the ball and hit a line drive somewhere."

"It was out of the zone," Waldrop said. "I was trying to bury it in right there, work for a double play or soft contact and I just left it up a little bit, didn't execute. It sunk some, it just didn't sink out of the zone like I wanted it to."

The Rangers had the go-ahead run in scoring position in the fifth, seventh, and eighth innings. Despite going 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and leaving 10 men on base, they did just enough to pull out a win.

"We were due to put something together offensively," Washington said. "We just kept swinging and putting runners out there. We didn't get as many of them in as we would have liked, but we got the win and that was important."

The Twins jumped out front in the second inning. After Justin Morneau singled and Ryan Doumit doubled, Holland couldn't field a comebacker cleanly, allowing Morneau to score. The next batter, Brian Dozier, singled to give the Twins an early 2-0 lead.

Beltre hit a leadoff single in the bottom of the second and came home on a double by Cruz, who has the Rangers' only two hits with runners in scoring position this series. His teammates have combined to go 0-for-16 with runners in scoring position in the two games.

Josh Hamilton hit his 27th home run to lead off the fourth, tying Jose Bautista for the Major League lead. Along with tying the game at 2, he became the first player in Rangers history with 27 home runs and 75 RBIs before the All-Star break.

The Twins pulled ahead, 3-2, in the sixth with a one-out solo homer from Josh Willingham, his team-leading 19th.

Again, it wasn't long before the Rangers responded, as Beltre blasted a one-out solo shot in the home half of the sixth to tie the game at 3. Beltre was the last batter faced by Twins starter Samuel Deduno, who made his first big league start in his 2012 debut.

Holland gave up three runs on six hits over six innings, striking out four and walking two while throwing 88 pitches, 55 for strikes. Holland had not pitched in over a month after being sidelined with shoulder fatigue and a stomach virus.

"Everything was good," Holland said. "We had a little bit of a funk with a five-game losing streak. We wanted to get out of that as quick as possible. I think today was a big momentum swing for us."

Tanner Scheppers replaced Holland in the seventh and, after throwing three pitches to leadoff man Brian Dozier, home-plate umpire Marty Foster left the game. He was replaced by crew chief and second-base umpire Jeff Kellogg. Scheppers, Robbie Ross, and Nathan combined to throw four scoreless innings.

"He's pretty good," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Nathan, his former closer. "Nathan is used to those situations. He's been in a lot of them. Those are big moments for him. He's a big-time pitcher."

Christian Corona is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.