Cruz’s streak continues as Rangers beat Mariners

Posted: 05/04/2011 in MLB

Cruz homers again, Rangers top Mariners

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Nelson Cruz belted his fourth homer of the season and the Texas Rangers remained undefeated with a 6-4 victory over Seattle in the opener of a three-game series.

Cruz and Elvis Andrus hit solo homers, giving the high-powered Rangers offense 13 round-trippers already this season.

Derek Holland (1-0) worked six innings for the win, allowing three runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out five for the reigning American League champions. Neftali Feliz pitched a perfect ninth for his first save.

“He hit his spots, changed speed and got his pitches in the strike zone,” said Texas manager Ron Washington on Holland. “He bent and didn’t break and handled himself very well out there.”

The Rangers, after sweeping the Boston Red Sox in three games to open the season, have outscored their opponents 32-15 so far. They are 4-0 for the first time since opening 1996 with seven consecutive wins.

Texas scored five of its runs — three earned — against Seattle starter Erik Bedard, who pitched for the first time in almost two years and took the loss in five innings.

Coming back from shoulder surgery that’s kept him sidelined since July 2009, Bedard (0-1) yielded four hits and two walks while striking out three.

“It’s been a while and I’ve had a rough couple years with the injuries,” said Bedard. “I’m just glad to be back out on the mound and I want to do the best that I can.”

Milton Bradley went 3-for-4 with two runs scored for the Mariners, who have dropped two straight since opening the season with back-to-back wins over Oakland.

The Rangers never trailed after Andrus knocked a 3-1 pitch over the left field wall for a solo homer in the bottom of the first inning.

They rallied for two more runs in the second with two outs. Mike Napoli walked, Yorvit Torrealba reached on an error and both runners scored on Julio Borbon’s triple.

Seattle cut its deficit in the fourth on Justin Smoak’s RBI double and Miguel Olivo’s RBI ground out, but Cruz made it 4-2 when he knocked a first-pitch changeup into the seats behind the 404-foot mark in left-center field during the home fourth.

In addition to Cruz’s four homers, the Rangers have received three from Ian Kinsler — including leadoff knocks in their first two games for an MLB record — two from Napoli and one each from Andrus, Adrian Beltre, David Murphy and Torrealba.

Both teams scored a run in the fifth, including reigning AL MVP Josh Hamilton’s RBI double for the Rangers.

Texas loaded the bases against Mariners reliever David Pauley in the sixth and took a 6-3 lead when Torrealba grounded into a double play. Seattle got its last run against Arthur Rhodes in the eighth, with Bradley doubling to lead off and coming home later on an Olivo single.

– Steve

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