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Cruz's Inside Job Sinks the Athletics

September 05, 2006|From the Associated Press

OAKLAND — Rookie Nelson Cruz hit an inside-the-park home run past left fielder Jay Payton and also a three-run shot on the way to a career-high five runs batted in, and the Texas Rangers beat the Oakland Athletics, 8-1, on Monday.

In the second inning, Cruz lined the ball to left field and Payton initially broke back on it, then charged in and dived. The ball went under his glove and rolled to the wall in left-center field. It was the 21st inside-the-park homer in Rangers history and the first since Mike Lamb hit one Aug. 31, 2001, against Kansas City.

"I saw him sliding and lying on the ground and the ball getting past him, so I thought about third," Cruz said. "But the coach kept waving me."

Barry Zito's three-start winning streak ended. He walked three in the first inning, ending a stretch of 20 games in which Oakland starters hadn't given up more than two walks.

Frank Thomas singled in Oakland's run, in the seventh inning, and tied Fred McGriff for 36th on the RBI list at 1,550.

The A's lead the second-place Angels by 6 1/2 games in the American League West.



Minnesota 2, at Tampa Bay 1: Rondell White hit a go-ahead two-run homer and Boof Bonser (4-5) gave up one run in 6 1/3 innings at St. Petersburg, Fla., to help the Twins regain the American League wild-card lead by half a game over Chicago. Minnesota has won 13 consecutive games against Tampa Bay dating to 2004.

at Boston 3, Chicago 2: Sparked by the return of Manny Ramirez, Trot Nixon and Jason Varitek, the Red Sox tied the score in the ninth inning against closer Bobby Jenks and won on Carlos Pena's home run leading off the 10th. It was only the third blown save in 42 chances for Jenks.

at Detroit 6, Seattle 2: Omar Infante's two-run double keyed a four-run seventh, and Nate Robertson (12-11) gave up one run and eight hits in seven innings for the Tigers, who increased their AL Central lead to five games. Detroit had lost eight of 11, and the Mariners are 1-14 in their last 15 road games.

New York 12, at Kansas City 5: Jorge Posada started a 10-run eighth-inning rally with a two-run homer, and Robinson Cano capped it with a three-run shot. Luke Hudson struck out a career-high 10 batters, the most by a Royals pitcher in five years, and turned a 5-1 lead over to the bullpen in the eighth.

at Toronto 4, Cleveland 3: Vernon Wells hit his 31st home run, and Reed Johnson also homered to help the Blue Jays win their third game in a row. Closer B.J. Ryan pitched two innings for his 30th save. The left-hander has 13 saves of more than one inning.

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