It was his only hit of the evening, but Nelson Cruz‘s grand slam in the bottom of the second inning proved to be the deciding dagger that would help propel the Texas Rangers to an eventual 10-5 rout of the Houston Astros on Friday.
After an Elvis Andrus single and a pair of walks drawn by Ian Kinsler and David Murphy, Cruz stepped to the plate with two out and took a 1-2 pitch from Lucas Harrell to deep center.
The slam was his record sixth at Arlington and second of the season, a season in which he has tallied 20 home runs and driven in 65 runs (both of which he ranks amongst the top five in the American League).
Cruz’s slam gave the Rangers a 6-0 lead at the time, whereupon they would go on to add four more, highlighted by Adrian Beltre‘s two-run shot in the fourth, which happened to score Cruz for Texas’ eighth and ninth runs of the game.
At the end of the fifth, the Rangers held the Astros scoreless, holding onto a 10-0 lead. However, the Astros would respond with four runs in the top of the sixth and another in the seventh.
Despite the rally from the Astros, the Rangers were able to hold them scoreless for the remaining two frames and grab their second straight victory.
Texas has now won six of their last ten games and sits just 1/2 a game behind the Oakland Athletics for the AL West division lead.