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Cruz hustles home to score in the fifth

ARLINGTON -- During his 6 2/3-inning stint in Sunday's 2-0 loss to the Rangers before 46,744 at the Ballpark in Arlington, Gavin Floyd allowed seven hits, walked five and hit one batter.

The Rangers loaded the bases in each of the first two innings and stranded eight baserunners over the first three innings. Yet, the only two runs scored by the American League West leaders were of the somewhat tainted variety.

Those two runs were enough to give the Rangers (59-41) their first win in the last six games against the White Sox (55-46), while also preventing Robin Ventura's crew from going a season-high 11 games over .500. Their American League Central lead dipped to 1 1/2 games over the Tigers (54-48), by virtue of Detroit's 4-1 victory in Toronto, with the effectively wild nature shown by Floyd (8-9) not quite good enough to extend the club's five-game winning streak.

"It didn't feel the greatest but whatever situation I had out there I had to bear down and make pitches," Floyd said. "I continued to focus on each pitch and try to get a double play or an out and tried to minimize damage."

"I've seen him worse," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "This is one of those he just finds a way to make that pitch. Gets in counts [where] you have to be aggressive. He has a good curve and changeup. It's one of those. I don't know if it's effectively wild, but he changes the eye level a lot."

When asked about Texas' 13 men left on base and 0-for-10 showing with runners in scoring position, Ventura pointed out the Rangers were not alone in offensive struggles.

"There were small villages left on for both teams," said Ventura, whose team stranded just six and finished 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. "Nobody really got anything going, and we gave them a couple."

Texas' first run was a true gift from the White Sox, a rare gift from a team with a Major League-low 17 unearned runs allowed. In the third inning, Josh Hamilton walked with one out and moved to third one out later on David Murphy's single. Mike Napoli hit what looked like a routine inning-ending grounder to shortstop Alexei Ramirez, but Ramirez bobbled the grounder for error No. 8 and Hamilton crossed the plate.

"We've got to clean that up and get better," said Ventura, speaking of the team's overall night defensively.

In the fifth, Nelson Cruz opened with a double and moved to third on Hamilton's ground ball to second baseman Gordon Beckham. Michael Young hit a slow roller back to Floyd, but Floyd didn't look Cruz back quite enough before throwing to Adam Dunn for the out. Cruz broke as soon as Floyd turned his back, and Dunn's brief double-clutch and one-hop throw home from first base was too late to nail Cruz.

Dunn said postgame that he had trouble getting the ball out of his glove, knowing the play could have been closer if not outright getting Cruz even with his great jump.

"I just didn't get it out of my glove," Dunn said. "It also wasn't one of my best throws, but I saw him the whole way. It wasn't like it surprised me."

Floyd pitched around his early struggles and threw 110 pitches, dealing with the 6:05 p.m. CT start and a game-time temperature of 104 degrees.

"We really had to battle because [Floyd] was throwing well," said Murphy, who finished with three hits. "We didn't do a lot of damage against him but we did a good enough job of making him work and getting some runs on the board."

"Whatever the weather is, try not to focus on it," said Floyd, who has struck out just two and walked 11 over 12 2/3 innings since his return from the disabled list but has given up three earned runs. "Even though you do feel like you're in a sauna out there, you're in Texas and expect it. I didn't think about it that much."

Scott Feldman (5-6) shut down the White Sox on seven hits over eight innings. He fanned five and didn't issue a walk, earning praise from his opponent.

"He was throwing all his pitches for strikes and the No. 1 thing was control," said Dunn of Feldman, who won his fifth straight decision. "He didn't leave many balls over the plate. And when he did, we obviously didn't make him pay."

"If you don't get your pitch and get it early, you get late in the count and it was kind of hard to get him," added White Sox center fielder Jordan Danks.

Taking the series from the two-time defending AL champs, who are 32-19 at home, and winning the season series by a 6-3 margin marks a good way to start this six-game road trip for the White Sox. There's nothing wrong with the White Sox getting a little greedy, though, when everything seemed to be working in their favor.

"Again, you can't hang your hat, taking two of three from one of the best teams, if not the best team in the American League, at home," Dunn said. "We definitely wanted to come in and sweep them, but we're still playing very well. A couple of mental things, but we had our chances. We couldn't capitalize."

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