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FLA@TEX: Cruz collects six RBIs in Rangers' victory

ARLINGTON -- Alexi Ogando spun a gem, Nelson Cruz enjoyed a memorable birthday and the Rangers rolled to a 15-5 win over the Marlins on Friday night at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Ogando retired the first 12 batters he faced, with his perfection ending on a full-count walk to Hanley Ramirez on a pitch that appeared to be borderline. He lost the no-hitter later in the inning on Greg Dobbs' double.

Marlins manager Jack McKeon thought Ogando was well on the way to a historic outing.

"That's some good stuff. We weren't about to touch him," McKeon said. "You know I sat in the dugout thinking we may witness a no-hitter. That's how good he was. We were overmatched."

In the seventh inning, Ogando tired, giving up three straight hits that resulted in two runs. Three batters later, Ogando was out.

His final line on the day was 6 2/3 innings, five hits and two runs. He also struck out a career-high eight batters.

It was a far cry from the Ogando who had been taking the mound for the Rangers of late. In fact, he looked much more like the Ogando from April and May who went 5-0 with a 2.36 ERA.

"Tonight he mixed [pitches] right away," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "His fastball was good tonight, it was really good, and he wasn't missing many spots either. He's a guy that hits his spots, and at the Major League level, if you don't hit your spots, bad things can happen."

Recently, there had been talk of sitting Ogando for a couple of turns through the rotation in order to ensure that he was not fatigued. While Washington said after the game that no decision had been made to that effect, it was still a possibility.

"We haven't decided," Washington said. "It's been discussed, but we haven't come up with anything on that yet, because the only thing we were concerned about was getting him out there today."

For his part, Ogando has made his thoughts on all the fatigue talk quite clear.

"You [the media] are the ones that said I was tired," Ogando said through a translator. "I never admitted that because I never thought that I was. I always said that I was OK, my energy was there. It seemed that because I had a couple bad outings in a row, you were saying I was tired."

As with any 15-run output, there were multiple hitters who contributed in a big way.

Taylor Teagarden matched a career high by collecting three hits, and Adrian Beltre drove in four runs as part of a 3-for-4 night.

The most impressive aspect of the offense was the pitcher they did it all against. Anibal Sanchez may not be the Marlins' ace as long as Josh Johnson wears the black and teal, but he has put together a solid season. The right-hander is 6-2 with a 3.30 ERA, even though the Marlins are languishing in last place in their division.

But taking center stage in the Rangers offensive explosion was the birthday boy, Cruz. He celebrated his 31st birthday by driving in six runs on a three-run home run and a bases-clearing triple.

"Yes [it is the best game I've had on my birthday], of the ones that I remember. I don't remember the other ones," Cruz said. "I came happy to the ballpark. They made me happy. They made sure I had a good time."

The six-RBI game tied a career high, established on April 15, 2009, which was also the last time a Ranger drove in six or more runs in a game.

Even more encouraging for the Rangers is how he amassed those RBIs. In both instances, Cruz powered the ball to right field, instead of trying to pull it to left field.

"He's staying in the big part of the field," Washington said. "If you stay in the big part of the field, good things can happen. When he fouled the ball off his leg, it stopped him from torquing too much, and he was in good position to drive the ball to right-center field. He's capable of doing that."

Cruz staying with pitches and hitting them the other way could be a sign that he will soon start hitting for a better average than he has so far this season. While his .240 batting average is respectable when the power numbers are factored in, it is still a far cry from his 2010 average of .318.

"I'm happy for Nelson to break out," Washington said. "Hopefully this is something that we can look forward to as we move forward. I know six RBIs every night is not going to happen, but I just hope to get Nelson going." Comments