Cruz Walk Off Home Run Lifts Rangers Over A's

Cliff Lee looks for his second win in the Rangers uniform as Texas looks to further distance themselves from the AL West field.

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Official Recap: Rangers 3, A's 1 (10 Innings)

Arlington, TX (Sports Network) – Cliff Lee set a career high with 13 strikeouts over nine brilliant innings and Nelson Cruz belted a two-run, game- winning home run in the bottom of the 10th, as the Texas Rangers edged the Oakland Athletics, 3-1, in the opener of a three-game series.

Lee did not factor in the decision, but he was the story of the game nonetheless. He allowed one unearned run on five hits and did not issue a walk for the Rangers, who have won four of their last five contests.

Kurt Suzuki drove in the only run for Oakland, which entered this series as winners in nine of its last 11 games overall.

Josh Hamilton drew a one-out walk off Michael Wuertz (2-2). The next batter was Cruz, who buried a hanging slider into the seats in left field as the Rangers bench cleared and celebrated around home plate.

The blast by Cruz — his 14th homer of the season — made a winner of Neftali Feliz (2-2).

The Rangers opened an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Michael Young worked a one-out walk and after Ian Kinsler fouled out, Vladimir Guerrero hit a double to right field which brought home Young.

Lee retired the first six Oakland batters in a row, but yielded a pair of singles in the third. Daric Barton, however, lined out to end the threat.

In both the fourth and fifth frames, Lee was perfect again before the A’s knotted the contest in the top of the sixth. Coco Crisp reached first via a one-out infield single, stole second base and moved to third on Bengie Molina’s wild throw before coming in on an RBI single by Suzuki.

Lee continued to deal into the later innings. The southpaw posted a 1-2-3 seventh and did the same in the top of the eighth — that one came in the form of three consecutive strikeouts.

In the visitors’ ninth, Kevin Kouzmanoff stroked a two-out single, but pinch- hitter Landon Powell grounded out.

Chris Davis drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the ninth, was bunted to second by Julio Borbon and headed for third when Elvis Andrus hit a grounder to the right side of the infield. Young was then intentionally walked but Kinsler — with a 3-0 count — swung at a high, outside pitch and fouled out.

Game Notes

Lee tied Jamie Moyer (1989) for the most strikeouts in a game by a Rangers left-hander and is the first Rangers twirler to notch 13 strikeouts in an outing since Aaron Sele in 1999. Incredibly, he has pitched at least eight innings in eight straight starts, some of which were with Seattle…Gio Gonzalez started for Oakland and allowed one run on five hits with six strikeouts and three walks in six innings…The Rangers left 11 men on base.

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Rangers Set To Play Host To Athletics

(Sports Network) - Cliff Lee only has one victory since joining the Rangers by way of a trade, but the club is expecting many more down the road.

Lee will try to build off that win this evening when Texas begins a three-game series versus the Oakland Athletics at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Lee went 0-1 over his first two starts since being acquired from Seattle despite going nine innings in each of outing. He gave up eight runs in that span while only getting three runs of support, but the Rangers matched that total on Thursday versus the Angels to get Lee a 3-2 win.

The 31-year-old left-hander scattered two runs and five hits over 8 1/3 innings, giving him a 3.42 earned run average in three starts with Texas and a 9-4 mark with a 2.56 ERA in 16 total 2010 starts.

"Any time you get that deep into the game, and give the team a chance, you have to feel good about it," said Lee.

Lee also improved to 5-4 with a 6.60 ERA in nine career starts at Rangers Ballpark and is 4-2 with a 2.61 ERA lifetime versus the Athletics.

Lee gave the Rangers a victory in the opener of a key four-game set with the Angels last week. The series went Texas' way as Sunday's 6-4 win allowed them to take three out of four and leave the series with a seven-game lead over Los Angeles in the American League West standings.

Josh Hamilton had three hits and drove in three runs on Sunday, while Nelson Cruz and Michael Young each had two hits and an RBI. Cruz extended his hitting streak to 14 games, hitting .414 (24-for-58) in that timeframe with a pair of homers and 14 RBI.

"I was happy with our effort. We came out and played hard all four nights," Young said. "That's what we've been doing real well."

Tommy Hunter improved to 8-0 on the season after holding Los Angeles to three runs on three hits over 6 1/3 innings.

Texas will begin a nine-game road trip on Friday versus the Angels, but first they must deal with an Oakland club that has won nine of its last 11 games. The Athletics took two of three versus the White Sox over the weekend, winning Sunday's finale, 6-4.

In his second start since a disabled list stint due to an elbow injury, Dallas Braden gave up three runs over 6 1/3 innings to win for the first time in 10 starts (0-5) since his perfect game back on May 9.

"A lot of things seem to get lost in that stretch ... People forget I threw a complete game after [my perfect game]. People forget about that because the win-loss [record] is so glaring," Braden said.

Kurt Suzuki, who signed a four-year contract extension on Friday, drove in three runs for Oakland and is batting .412 (14-for-34) over his last nine games with a homer and six RBI.

The A's will look to keep rolling tonight behind Gio Gonzalez, who has won back-to-back starts and is 3-1 over his last four outings.

After throwing seven innings of one-run ball versus the Royals on July 16, the 24-year-old southpaw was charged with four runs, seven hits and two walks over six frames of a 6-4 triumph over Boston on Wednesday.

Gonzalez is 9-6 with a 3.75 ERA this year and 1-1 with a 2.63 ERA in four career games versus the Rangers, two of those starts. That loss came in Texas on May 12, as he gave up four runs on nine hits over four innings.

These two clubs have split six meetings so far this year, with the Rangers taking two of three at home from May 11-13.

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