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TOR@TEX: Cruz goes 4-for-5 with eight RBIs

ARLINGTON -- It didn't matter who the Blue Jays put on the mound -- Nelson Cruz was going to hit them.

Cruz and the Rangers wasted no time making sure Toronto's Brandon Morrow would not throw a second straight shutout. Six first-inning runs were more than enough support for Derek Holland, who held the Blue Jays to two runs over 7 1/3 innings while giving up five hits and striking out a season-high nine.

Cruz went 4-for-5, recording hits off of four different pitchers. His last was a seventh-inning grand slam to right field off a fastball from Jason Frasor. Cruz tied a career-high with eight RBIs as the Rangers pounded out 18 hits in a 14-3 win over the Blue Jays at the Ballpark in Arlington on Friday night.

"You can't say enough about what Cruz did," said Texas manager Ron Washington. "You work almost a whole month to put up those kind of RBIs and he did it one night. That's definitely what he's capable of doing. I hope that's something he can continue."

Ian Kinsler set the tone by drawing a 13-pitch leadoff walk in the first before Elvis Andrus was also walked. Adrian Beltre drove in the first two runs of the game with a single to right field off Morrow.

"You don't plan on something like that. It just kind of happens," said Kinsler of his lengthy first plate appearance. "I'm not trying to foul balls off there. There's a couple of them that I probably got a little lucky to foul them off. There's a couple of them that he was lucky that I fouled them off."

Morrow went on to give up a single to Michael Young and walk David Murphy to load the bases. Cruz's bases-clearing double then gave the Rangers a 5-0 lead. The Rangers would score again before the inning ended on Moreland's RBI single.

Cruz wasn't close to done. He singled in the fifth and had an RBI single in the sixth before driving a Jason Frasor fastball over the right-field wall in the seventh. The slam was the fourth of his career and second in 12 days after going deep off the Angels' Jered Weaver in a 13-6 win May 13.

Cruz became the fifth player in Rangers history to have eight RBIs in a game and the first since Hamilton, when he hit four home runs against the Orioles on May 8. After notching his American League-leading ninth game with at least three hits this year, Cruz is batting .373 with four home runs and 19 RBIs in his past 17 games.

"When you have the bases loaded, you have a chance to do some damage," Cruz said. "You dream to have those kinds of days. It can't happen every day. When it does, you're happy and you enjoy it."

The Rangers sent 11 batters to the plate in the first, three of them walking and five of them recording base hits. Morrow, in his shortest career start, needed 45 pitches to get through the first four innings of his last start. He threw 44 in his short stint Friday.

Holland, who had won once in his previous five starts, struck out the side in the first and fanned five of the first eight batters he faced. Before allowing a solo home run to Edwin Encarnacion in the sixth, Holland had allowed only one Blue Jays baserunner past first base.

"The big thing was that I was very consistent and I kept the ball down, a huge improvement from the start before," Holland said. "The offense gave me a lot of runs and the defense was making some great plays behind me. I kept them on their toes and I think that's what I did best tonight."

For the second straight game, the Rangers were facing a starter who had thrown a shutout in his previous outing. In Wednesday's series finale against the Mariners, Kevin Millwood, who tossed a two-hit shutout against the Rockies May 18, pitched six scoreless innings in a 5-3 loss.

"This is very uncharacteristic of any of the starts he has had through the season so far," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said of Morrow. "I'd like to think this is the aberration. To their credit, they swung the bats exceptionally well."

After scoring six runs in the first inning, Hamilton added to the lead in the second. He deposited a 2-0 offering from Villanueva into the upper deck of the right-field seats, his Major League-leading 19th home run of the year.

Hamilton left the game in the seventh with head congestion. Washington said that Hamilton would be ready for Saturday afternoon's game, a 2:05 p.m. CT start.

Torrealba drilled a solo shot of his own in the third, his first home run this season. Every player in Texas' starting lineup reached base, with five of the nine starters notching multiple hits.

With 46,789 fans in attendance, Friday marked Texas' 14th home sellout this season, the third-most in team history. It was the third straight sellout for the Rangers and 12th in their last 14 home games.

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