Cruz's two-run homer in the bottom of the 10th lifted Texas to a 3-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night after Lee struck out a career-high 13 and scattered five hits in a nine-inning effort that failed to produce his 100th career win.
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Cliff Lee and Nelson Cruz put the Texas Rangers' swagger on full display against the Oakland A's on Tuesday, writes Richard Durrett. Story
"It's too bad we couldn't get [Lee] the win, but the team got the win and that's all that matters," Rangers manager Ron Washington said.With the game tied at 1, Josh Hamilton drew a one-out walk off Michael Wuertz (2-2) and Cruz followed by lofting a 1-1 pitch high into the left-field seats.The AL West-leading Rangers improved to 9-3 since the All-Star break.Lee is 1-1 with two no-decisions in his four starts since he was acquired by Texas in a trade with Seattle on July 9.The Rangers have scored only nine runs in Lee's four starts.
Cliff Lee is one of just a few pitchers since 1920 with eight consecutive starts of eight-plus innings with one walk or fewer.
* - Active streak
"It felt good, especially the way we've been playing lately and the way Cliff Lee threw the ball," Cruz said after his second career game-ending homer. "It's crazy we haven't scored more runs for him. Hopefully we'll turn it around for his next start."Lee had the most strikeouts for the Rangers since Aaron Sele's 13 on Aug. 12, 1999, against Detroit. Lee didn't walk a batter and has issued only seven walks in 17 starts this season.Oakland advanced a runner to third with two outs in the 10th, but Neftali Feliz (2-2) struck out pinch-hitter Cliff Pennington.The A's only run against Lee was unearned in the sixth with the help of a two-base error on second baseman Ian Kinsler.Lee has lasted at least eight innings in eight straight starts, the longest streak in the majors since Toronto's Pat Hentgen had 12 in a row in 1996.A's starter Gio Gonzalez allowed eight baserunners in the first four innings, then retired the final six he faced before leaving after six innings and 111 pitches. Gonzalez gave up one run and five hits, struck out six and walked three."It was definitely a pitcher's duel from the start to the finish," Lee said. "Fortunately Nelson put a good swing on one there at the end and it went out of the park, so it was good to see."Wuertz said the home-run pitch was "a slider that didn't slide so much. He did what good hitters do. It came at the wrong time but it's part of the game. I thought when he first hit it, it was way out, then it caught up in the wind and died a little bit, and just got out."In Texas' half of the first, Michael Young drew a one-out walk and raced home ahead of Vladimir Guerrero's double. Young dislodged the ball from catcher Kurt Suzuki's glove on his slide to the plate.Guerrero had been in a 4-for-31 slump over his previous eight games and had gone without an RBI for a season-long nine straight games.The A's tied it at 1 in the sixth with the help of Kinsler's error. Coco Crisp singled, and took off for second on a steal attempt. Kinsler failed to cover catcher Bengie Molina's throw, and Crisp moved to third when the ball skipped into center field.Suzuki's single drove in Crisp.The official scorer consulted with Rangers coaches after the game, and it was determined that Kinsler was supposed to cover the base, removing an error that had been charged to Molina.
Cruz went 2 for 5 to extend his career-best hitting streak to 15 games. ... A's DH Jack Cust was ejected in the seventh by home plate umpire Kerwin Dantley for arguing a called third strike. ... Texas RHP Rich Harden allowed two hits over six shutout innings with 10 strikeouts against Memphis in a rehab start for Triple-A Oklahoma City on Monday night, and he could be activated off the 15-day DL (strained left gluteus muscle) by the weekend. ... The Rangers have signed their second-round pick in the June draft, RHP Cody Buckel of Simi Valley, Calif. Buckel has been assigned to the team's Arizona League entry. ... Oakland RHP Andrew Bailey threw in the outfield before the game and is day-to-day. Bailey hasn't been able to pitch in a game since July 20 due to back spasms. ... Oakland LHP Brett Anderson will have a bullpen session on Wednesday and if that goes well, he's expected to be activated off the 15-day DL and start Saturday against Chicago. Anderson has been out since June 4 with an inflamed left elbow.