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Oct 15, 2012 12:55am
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ARLINGTON, Texas—Move over, Reggie, Babe and all other October sluggers. Michael Oher Jersey . Nobody has ever had a
post-season power surge like Nelson Cruz just did in the AL championship series.
With a two-run homer Saturday night, Cruz upped his ALCS totals to six homers
and 13 RBIs—both major league records for a post-season series. The numbers
will hold, too, because his Texas Rangers beat the Detroit Tigers 15-5 in Game 6
to advance to the World Series for the second straight year. “When the team
needed me, I delivered,” Cruz said. “It was amazing.” It also made him an easy
choice for series MVP. Cruz went 8 for 22 (.364), with every hit going for extra
bases; his two non-homers were doubles. Only once has anyone had more extra-base
hits in a post-season series; Hideki Matsui had nine for the Yankees when they
lost the 2004 ALCS to Boston. Consider his other Cruz-ian feats this round:—
He hit the first game-ending grand slam in post-season history. —He became the
first player with extra-inning homers in two games of one series. —He became
the first player to hit six homers in two post-seasons, and hes done it in
back-to-back years. —He became the franchises career post-season home run
king. And, get this—he did it all while batting seventh in the lineup. “It
was fun to watch,” said teammate Josh Hamilton, last years ALCS MVP. “Its one
thing to be in the stands. But when youre down here on the field with him, you
can see the intensity, see the focus. To watch him do that was incredible. ...
When Nellie gets in those streaks, they can come at any time. Thats what the
funnest part is. Every at-bat when hes up there, it could be the at-bat where he
hits another one.” On Saturday night, the Rangers already were well on their way
to victory when Cruz sent another high-arching shot over the left-field wall in
the seventh inning. A stadium filled with fans eager to celebrate the pennant
chanted “Cruuuuuuz” long and loud, and he stepped out of the dugout for a quick
salute. When Michael Young caught the final out at first base, Cruz was running
toward the play and began smiling. He then dropped to a knee and said a quick
prayer, slapped the ground and charged into the pileup near the mound. During
the ceremony, there were more roars of “Cruuuuuuz” whenever his name was
mentioned and of course when he received the MVP hardware. “Nellie worked hard
all year,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “Coming down the stretch, he didnt
really have a whole lot of at-bats. He kept battling, his teammates supported
him and in the end it all came together.” Cruz homered in every game the Rangers
won—and in every game, period, except the third. He also helped Texas win
Game 4 by throwing out a runner at the plate in the eighth inning of a tie game.
Coming into this series, Cruz may have been the least likely player to have a
historic performance. He had one measly single in 15 at-bats in a first-round
series against Tampa Bay. “It was only a matter of time,” said Mike Napoli, who
bats ahead of Cruz. “We were like, Whats wrong with Nellie, he hasnt hit a home
run yet? But he did it (in Game 1) and there he went.” Once he found his power
stroke in the opener, Cruz stuck with it. Nearly every long drive came at a
great time, too. His solo shot in Game 1 put Texas up 3-0 on the way to a 3-2
victory. He tied Game 2 with a solo homer in the seventh inning, got hit in the
wrist by a pitch in the ninth, then hit the grand slam in the 11th. He hit a
three-run homer in the 11th inning of Game 4 and ripped another on a 100 mph
heater from Justin Verlander in Game 5, turning what seemed like a lost cause
into a 7-5 game that ended with the potential go-ahead run at the plate. “When
Nellie gets going, hes good as any power hitter in the game,” Young said. “Hes
going right now, and its a lot of fun to watch.” Cruz showed he could throw with
power, too, in Game 4. Detroit had a runner at third with one out when Cruz
caught a fly ball and threw a strike to catcher Mike Napoli. The ball arrived in
plenty of time for Napoli to brace himself for a collision with Miguel Cabrera
for the inning-ending out. Cruz showed great fundamentals with the way he
approached the ball, ready to step into his rifle throw. The 31-year-old Cruz
has rewarded the Rangers for their tough love approach to his career. Back in
2008, he was waived at the end of spring training and sent to Triple-A. It was a
challenge to see if he could force them to bring him up. He certainly did,
hitting 37 homers and batting .342 over 103 games. Cruz hit .318 with 22 homers
last year, then whacked six more in the post-season—three in the first round,
two in the ALCS and one in the World Series. The only other players with five
homers in a single post-season series were Reggie Jackson, Ken Griffey Jr.,
Juan Gonzalez and Chase Utley. The previous RBI record was 12 by Bobby
Richardson and John Valentin. “Right now, Im just enjoying it,” Cruz said.
“After the season, hopefully Im going to sit down and relax and reflect on it
and make sure I realize what happened.” Dennis Pitta Jersey . The club announced
Monday night that left-handed reliever Luis Perez will miss the rest of the
season with a torn ligament in his throwing elbow. Joe
Flacco Jersey
. Scott Cullen looks at Sundays playoff action. DANNY
BOYFlyers C Daniel Briere scored two goals, including the winner in overtime, as
the Philadelphia Flyers won Game One 4-3 over the New Jersey Devils. http://www.ravensproshop.com/ray-rice-jerseys
. Tipsarevic drew Serbia level at 1-1 against the Czechs in their quarterfinal,
but he was pulled away by his captain from a confrontation with Stepanek
following the handshake at the net. “After five hours and 10 minutes, instead of
shaking my hand, he gave me a middle finger, and told me that Im a stinking,
something bad. Ray Lewis Jersey Elite . —The Green Bay
Packers have signed quarterback Graham Harrell to the active roster from the
practice squad and placed tight end Andrew Quarless on injured reserve. Ed
Reed Jersey
. Needing to finish in the top four of the eight teams
competing in the 02 Arena, Canada wound up fifth by 0.GLENDALE, Ariz. —The
Glendale City Clerks Office has rejected petitions that sought to put a
referendum on the November ballot about the Phoenix Coyotes pending arena
management deal. City officials said Monday that the petitions missed the July 9
deadline by three days and lacked the required 1,862 signatures. The two
Glendale residents who spearheaded the referendum turned in 1,568 signatures
last Thursday.. Lardarius Webb Jersey. . Ken Jones and Joe
Cobb said they wanted to give voters a chance to decide whether to overturn
Glendales 20-year, $324 million lease agreement with potential Coyotes buyer
Greg Jamison. The City Council approved the deal last month. The NHL has yet to
finalize the sale to Jamison, a former San Jose Sharks chief executive. But
league officials say the deal still is being worked on. ’ ’ ’ 

Nov 23, 2012 5:52am
User_img_not_found_02_med linking 41 posts

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