Cruz Slam Helps Rangers Hammer Angels 13-6
ARLINGTON (AP) – Josh Hamilton’s big bat is done — and headed to the Hall of Fame.
The bat the Rangers slugger used to hit eight of his nine home runs during the last week cracked on an RBI single in the seventh inning of Texas’ 13-6 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday night.
“She died a hero,” Hamilton said with a wide grin. “She was tired, she was getting a little weak.”
Nelson Cruz hit his third career slam and like Elvis Andrus matched a career high with four hits as the Rangers handed Jered Weaver (5-1) his first loss.
The slam by Cruz, his first homer since April 17, capped a five-run third for the Rangers. Hamilton chased Weaver an inning later with a two-run double that made it 8-2 when the slugger was still using a pink bat for Mother’s Day.
It wasn’t until the seventh that Hamilton pulled out the bat he used Tuesday night in Baltimore when he became the 16th player in major league history with a four-homer game. He had also homered with it Monday night, and three more times in the first two games of the series against the Angels.
Hamilton wasn’t ready to give up the bat after the four-homer game when it was authenticated by Major League Baseball. Now the Hall of Fame can have it.
Neftali Feliz (3-1), the closer-turned-starter for Texas, struck out five while allowing two runs and four hits over six innings.
Weaver, in his second start since throwing a no-hitter, gave up 10 hits and eight runs in 3 1/3 innings. It matched the most runs the right-hander has allowed in his 185 career starts and was his shortest outing since 2009.
When asked what he liked best in the game, Rangers manager Ron Washington replied: “Nefty, and the way we took advantage of some opportunities we had.”
Andrus also had a nifty run-saving defensive play for the Rangers (23-12), who have the American League’s best record. They took two of three against Los Angeles, which is in last place and eight games behind them in the AL West.
Weaver threw his no-hitter May 2 at home against Minnesota, and then allowed only three hits and one run on the road against the Twins five days later. But he again struggled at Texas, where he is 2-7 in 14 career starts.
Ian Kinsler led off the first with a double before Andrus reached on an infield single. After Hamilton struck out, Adrian Beltre hit a sacrifice fly for a 1-0 lead.
Hamilton, using the pink bat, struck out again in the third.
“You just keep getting Josh up to the plate, pretty soon something will happen,” Washington said. “Weaver made some pitches to him and then by time he got up there his third at-bat, he made an adjustment.”
Hamilton’s hit in the seventh pushed his majors-leading RBIs total to 44. He also leads baseball with a .402 average and 18 homers, and finished a seven-game span in which he had 14 hits with nine homers and 18 RBIs.
“I really haven’t thought about it, it really hasn’t been different for me,” Hamilton said. “I’m really not paying attention to results. I’m just, same old thing, going out and trying to do whatever I can to help the team.”
Beltre had a two-out RBI single in third before Michael Young doubled and David Murphy walked. Cruz then lined his shot over the 14-foot wall in left field, his third homer of the season.
Weaver entered the game allowing opposing teams to hit only .174, best in the AL. His season ERA jumped from 1.60 to 2.83.
“As the game went on, he left a couple of breaking balls in the heart of the plate. Before he was 2-0 to Cruz, he was 0-2 to Murphy but couldn’t put him away. With two strikes, Young hit a double down the right field line,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “That’s not a forgiving lineup.”
Mark Trumbo had a long two-run homer for the second day in a row for the Angels. Kendrys Morales hit a two-out solo homer in the ninth.
After Morales drew a leadoff walk in the second, Trumbo pulled a shot an estimated 437 feet down the left-field line into the second level of seats. His team-leading sixth homer made it 2-1.
Since Rangers Ballpark opened in 1994, the only other opposing players to hit a ball into those seats were Mark McGwire in 1997 and Evan Longoria in 2008.
The Angels scored three runs in the seventh off reliever Mark Lowe to get within 10-5, including a solo homer by Vernon Wells and an RBI single by Albert Pujols.
They still had the bases loaded when Koji Uehara took over and Howie Kendrick hit a ball up the middle. But shortstop Andrus stopped the ball on the run, and flipped it from his glove to second baseman Kinsler to force out Trumbo for the inning-ending out.
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