Detroit, MI (Sports Network) – Nelson Cruz continued his hot hitting, belting a two-run homer in the 14th inning, lifting the Texas Rangers to an 8-6 win over Detroit in the opener of a three-game series at Comerica Park.
Cruz, who had three hits and four RBI, has gone 12-for-23 with 10 runs driven in over his last five games.
Ian Kinsler provided a two-run homer and three RBI as part of Texas' 19-hit attack. Josh Hamilton had four hits and drove in a run, as the Rangers won for the fourth time in five contests. Texas also broke an 11-game skid in Detroit, which was a club record for consecutive road losses to a particular team.
The game was marred by injuries to players from both sides. Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge was hit on the left hand by a pitch in the third inning and suffered a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal bone. He's expected to miss the next 4-to-6 weeks.
Rangers reliever Dustin Nippert was drilled on the side of the head by a line drive off the bat of Austin Jackson in the sixth inning. The right-hander tried in vain to shield the right side of his head with his hand, but the ball found a path and caught him flush near the top of the scalp. He remained down on the ground for a short time while team trainers assessed his condition, but ultimately Nippert walked off the mound under his own power.
Enrique Gonzalez (0-1) walked Hamilton with one out in the 14th before Cruz sent a 1-2 offering to the opposite field, barely over the wall in the right field corner, for his 12th homer of the season.
"It was a good feeling, especially since we had a hard time driving in a run after the seventh inning," Cruz said. "It was good to get that."
The teams combined to leave 29 men on base, 16 from Detroit.
"When you're going good you get them in and when you're not you don't," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "We had some opportunities to do that, but we didn't do that tonight. It's part of struggling."
The bats were active in the early going as Kinsler followed a walk from Michael Young in the first with his fifth homer of the season. Cabrera singled home Damon in the bottom half and the hosts tied it on Alex Avila's base hit an inning later after Inge tripled.
The runs kept on coming in the third as singles by Elvis Andrus and Young left runners at the corners and Kinsler lifted a sacrifice fly. Vladimir Guerrero kept things moving with a walk and Hamilton and Cruz strung together consecutive RBI-hits.
Cabrera hit the first of his two home runs in the home third to get Detroit within 5-3, then tied it on the back end of consecutive home runs alongside Ordonez leading off the fifth.
Things stayed that way until three straight one-out singles in the seventh off Robbie Weinhardt saw Cruz chase home Guerrero. Chris Davis, though, squandered a chance for more by grounding into an inning-ending double play.
Frank Francisco took over for Alexi Ogando in the eighth after the Texas reliever put two on with one out. Damon singled to right to tie the game at six, but Francisco was able to limit the damage by striking out Ordonez and getting Cabrera to fly out.
Jose Valverde had an up-and-down inning for the Tigers in the ninth. He struck out Kinsler and Hamilton, but walked Cruz to load the bases after two Rangers reached on a single and an error. Davis grounded out to end the inning and the game moved to extras with Francisco retiring the side in order in the bottom half.
The Tigers had a prime opportunity to end the game in the 11th. Damon led off with a walk and advanced on a wild pitch with one out. Cabrera was intentionally walked before Brennan Boesch flared a single to shallow right. Damon, though, couldn't track the ball and only made it to third. Carlos Guillen then bounced into a 6-4-3 double play to prolong the contest.
Texas had runners at first and third with two away in the 12th, but Julio Borbon flied out. Detroit moved a runner into scoring position in its at-bat, but Damon ended it with a groundout.
A double-play ball from Kinsler ended the Rangers' 13th frame and the hosts wasted a leadoff walk by Ordonez in their turn.
Texas starter Scott Feldman is without a win in his last five starts. He gave up five runs on seven hits and two walks in five frames...Jeremy Bonderman went 5 1/3 innings in the start for Detroit, yielding five runs on nine hits with two walks. He was looking for a third win in four starts...Rangers manager Ron Washington was ejected by home plate umpire John Hirschbeck for arguing balls and strikes in the fifth...The Tigers recalled righty Armando Galarraga from Triple-A Toledo and optioned lefty Andrew Oliver to Toledo Monday...Cabrera now has 24 home runs this season, while Ordonez hit his 12th...The Tigers have won seven straight series at home...Texas has won 15 of its past 20 road games.