Nelson Cruz Plays Hero With Walk-Off Home Run In 13th

Nelson Cruz tied the score in the bottom of the eighth inning with a home run off Joba Chamberlain before hitting a walk off home run in the bottom of the 13th to give the Rangers a 6-5 win Friday against the Yankees.

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Cruz's Home Runs Lead Rangers Over Yankees

(Sports Network) – Nelson Cruz hit the tying home run in the eighth inning and smacked the game-winner in the bottom of the 13th, sending Texas to a 6-5 win over the Yankees in the opener of a three-game series.

Both were first-pitch home runs, and gave the AL West-leading Rangers their third straight win.

The Yankees lost for the fourth time in five games and had their lead in the AL East trimmed to 1 1/2 games over the Rays, who beat Toronto earlier Friday.

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Follow Live As Rangers Take On Yankees

To follow tonight’s game live as the Rangers play host to the New York Yankees, head over to Lone Star Ball to discuss the game as it happens.

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Captain Morgan To Throw Out First Pitch In Rangers Game

In case you haven’t noticed, Captain Morgan has been touring baseball stadiums all summer throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. The Captain – sorry Jeter – will throw out the first pitch tonight before the Rangers take on the Yankees tonight in Arlington. If you’re headed to the game, keep a look out for the Captain and the Morganettes as they’ll be headed around the ballpark partying with fans tonight.

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Rangers Play Host To Yankees In Possible ALDS Preview

(Sports Network) - In a possible playoff preview, the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers will start up an intriguing three-game series between division leaders this evening at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

If the current American League standings remain the same at the end of the regular season, the Yankees and Rangers would face one another in the best-of- five AL Division Series. New York presently controls its own destiny for the top seed, owning a 2 1/2-game advantage on fellow AL East member Tampa Bay in the race, while Texas is 7 1/2 games in front of second-place Oakland in the AL West but is well back of the surging Minnesota Twins in the battle for the league's No. 2 seed.

The Rangers will be sending their potential Game 1 starter to the hill for tonight's opener in C.J. Wilson. The converted reliever has been sensational since the All-Star break, having amassed a 7-1 record and an excellent 2.67 earned run average in 10 second-half starts.

That lone defeat did take place in his most recent assignment, though, with Wilson tagged for six runs in 5 1/3 innings by the Twins this past Sunday in Minneapolis. It was the left-hander's first setback since July 11.

A return home may enable Wilson to get back on track, as he's compiled a stellar 10-2 mark with a 3.11 ERA in 16 starts in Arlington this year. The 29- year-old did face the Yankees at Rangers Ballpark on August 10, getting a no- decision in a 4-3 Texas triumph after allowing two runs in 5 1/3 innings of work.

Wilson was dealt a loss at Yankee Stadium back on April 16, however, and is 0-3 lifetime against New York in 19 appearances, all but two of which have come in relief.

Texas hasn't been playing its best baseball during the early stages of September, having recently had a five-game losing streak, but does come into this set off back-to-back road wins over Toronto. In Wednesday's finale, Mitch Moreland drove in three runs to back 6 1/3 solid innings from Colby Lewis as the Rangers came through with a 4-2 victory.

Vladimir Guerrero added three hits and scored twice for Texas, while Nelson Cruz went 2-for-4 with a run scored to help the Rangers salvage a split of the four-game series.

Lewis (10-12) halted a nine-start winless streak by limiting the Blue Jays to one run on five hits while striking out eight batters on the night. The right- hander had received seven losses and two no-decisions over his drought.

"It's definitely gratifying to get double digits [in wins], for sure," Lewis said afterward. "I just really wanted to bounce back after the two poor outings I had. That was the biggest thing I wanted to do today."

The Yankees take the road tonight for a challenging nine-game trek that includes three critical meetings with the rival Rays following this series. New York tuned up for this stretch with a needed 3-2 win over Baltimore on Wednesday, which snapped a string of three straight losses for the Bronx Bombers and prevented the pesky Orioles from a surprising sweep of the three- game set.

Baltimore came awfully close to getting the sweep, though, taking a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning of the finale. However, Nick Swisher put the Yankees ahead to stay with a two-run homer off O's closer Koji Uehara with his team two outs away from another loss.

Swisher's game-winning blast scored Alex Rodriguez, who had singled off Uehara to begin New York's half of the ninth. Brett Gardner had a run-scoring double earlier in the afternoon, while three Yankee relievers combined for three scoreless innings to keep the deficit at a single run.

"The feeling is that we could come back," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "That's the feeling this club has always had. We've had some comebacks and they did a nice job."

Joba Chamberlain (3-4) picked up the win after striking out two Orioles in a perfect top of the ninth. Rookie Ivan Nova began the game for the Yankees and allowed a pair of runs while fanning six over six solid innings in his fourth big league start.

Girardi will hand the ball to Javier Vazquez this evening, with the veteran hurler getting another opportunity to work out his recent struggles. The offseason acquisition hasn't pitched more than 4 2/3 innings in any of his last three starts and was briefly removed from the rotation last month after a sequence of ineffective performances.

One of those subpar showings came against the Rangers in Arlington on August 11, with Vazquez roughed up for six runs and eight hits in a 4 1/3-inning no- decision. He followed up by lasted only four frames in a home loss to Detroit five days later, allowing two runs and issuing four walks.

Vazquez did pitch better in a pair of relief appearances to close out August, permitting just two runs and four hits over a combined nine innings while earning one win, but encountered trouble once again when placed back in a starting role this past Saturday. In a no-decision against Toronto, the 34- year-old gave up five runs and a pair of homers while walking four in 4 2/3 shaky innings.

This will be the seventh career start against the Rangers for Vazquez, who's 2-2 with a suspect 6.56 ERA over the previous six.

The Yankees have won four of five meetings with Texas this season, with the clubs splitting a two-game set in Arlington last month.

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