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Nelson Cruz comes alive, plays hero in ALCS Game 1 win

Oct 9, 2011, 2:03 AM EST

Texas Rangers' Nelson Cruz celebrates after hitting a solo home run against the Detroit Tigers during the fourth inning of Game 1 of the MLB American League Championship Series baseball playoffs in Arlington Reuters

It might not be remembered this way because of Game 1’s dual rain delays and the lights-out performance by the Rangers’ bullpen, but Nelson Cruz‘s solo home run to left field in the bottom of the fourth inning proved to be a game-winning blast.

And considering he hit it off Tigers ace Justin Verlander, we may as well call the dinger heroic.

Cruz was just 1-for-15 entering the ALCS and mired in an 0-for-10 postseason slump, but he came alive at exactly the right time and sent a towering shot into the left field seats. It was his only hit of the game, and perhaps he’ll again go cold, but he deserves credit for snapping out at the right moment in Saturday’s 3-2 ALCS Game 1 victory.

Cruz was a .263/.312/.509 hitter during the regular season with 29 homers and 87 RBI. Hamstring injuries kept him from entering the stretch run in an offensive groove, but he might be the most dangerous No. 7 batter in ALCS history. Perhaps he’ll climb his way back up the Rangers’ starting lineup before October is through.

  1. cur68 - Oct 9, 2011 at 2:10 AM

    Saw this guy when the Rangers played the Blue Jays. He was healthy and clearly enjoying his baseball. He was a MONSTER. I think he homered in every at bat (sure seemed that way) and if he wasn’t creaming pitches he was holding down a steady if unspectacular Right Field. I kind if thought that give him a few days off to get his hammy under him and he’d be ready to ‘splode. ‘Splode he did.

  2. barneysbullet - Oct 9, 2011 at 8:40 AM

    …Kinda reminds me of the miracle grab by David Tyree in ’07 Super Bowl… I know, different sport but had same effect.

  3. addictedzone - Oct 9, 2011 at 11:11 AM

    Never count out someone that packs a Boomstick.

  4. The Baseball Idiot - Oct 9, 2011 at 3:29 PM

    Heroic?

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