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07/07/10 1:29 AM ET
Blanco, Arias boost Rangers past Tribe
Duo drives in six; Hamilton, Vlad, Cruz, Murphy homer
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Michael Young and Elvis Andrus were conspicuously missing when the Rangers' lineup was first posted in the clubhouse around three in the afternoon on Tuesday. Some seven hours later, it turns out they weren't missed that much at all. Reserve infielders Andres Blanco and Joaquin Arias saw to that. They combined for five hits and six RBIs in leading the Rangers to a 12-1 victory over the Indians at the Ballpark in Arlington. Blanco, playing third base and batting ninth, tied a career high with three hits, including a two-run double. Arias, batting second and playing shortstop for the first time this season, had two hits and set a career high with four RBIs. "They were a big relief for us," second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "They did their jobs and they did it well. Mike doesn't take a day off very often. For Blanco and Arias to do what they did, it was uplifting for everybody." Josh Hamilton, Vladimir Guerrero, Nelson Cruz and David Murphy all hit home runs and starter C.J. Wilson went six innings to get the victory. Wilson, out-pitching Indians side-arming right-hander Justin Masterson, allowed a first-inning home run to Jayson Nix but just two hits overall and is now 7-4 with a 3.24 ERA on the season. The Rangers, who are 4 1/2 games up in the American League West after the Angels' lost Tuesday, had lost two straight and four of five going into this game, including a 9-3 loss to the Indians on Monday night, before Blanco and Arias helped point them in the right direction. "Last night was kind of a drubbing, but we were able to flush that away and re-assert ourselves," Wilson said The game was delayed 16 minutes in the bottom of the fifth inning when a male fan, trying to reach for a foul ball, fell 30 feet from the club level. "A very scary moment," Murphy said. "Players on both sides were shaken up for awhile," said Young, who saw the whole thing while standing at the front of the Rangers' dugout. The man was moving and conscious when he left the Ballpark on a stretcher. Four other fans were treated for minor injuries. Play was halted until all received the necessary medical attention and the man had been taken from the park. It was an anxious and unnerving moment on a night that really should have belonged to Blanco and Arias. They were the stars of the show. "A big night for me," Arias said. "First game at shortstop ... I feel happy." "Wow," Blanco said. "That's a night I've have been waiting for a long time." Both reaffirmed the faith and audacity of manager Ron Washington, who had no second thoughts about giving not one but two All-Star infielders the night off. Blanco had the game-changing hit of the night in the fourth and Arias delivered the big blow that allowed the Rangers to break the game open with a five-run sixth inning. "They picked us up," Washington said. "I never doubted they would. I felt good going with what I went with." The game was tied 1-1 into the fourth when Guerrero was hit by a pitch to start the inning and went to third on a single by Hamilton. Cruz flied to short right and Guerrero didn't try to score. But right fielder Austin Kearns still threw home and Hamilton hustled to second base on the play. That left first base open and Indians manager Manny Acta elected to walk switch-hitter Justin Smoak to load the bases. When Masterson struck out Matt Treanor, that gave the Indians a chance to get out of the inning with the game still tied. Blanco didn't let him off the hook. Masterson threw a first-pitch changeup and Blanco smacked it into the right-field corner for a two-run double that gave the Rangers a 3-1 lead. "That's a good thing about playing instead of being on the bench," Blanco said. "You recognize how he's been pitching everybody. In my first at-bat, he got me [on a weak grounder] with a changeup. I was prepared for something like that. It was no secret he was going to throw me something like that, especially when I'm an aggressive hitter. He threw it right down the middle. I wasn't going to take it." The Rangers still led, 3-1, in the sixth when Arias batted with the base loaded and one out. He was hitless in three at-bats but this time lined one deep down the left-field line. Indians left fielder Trevor Crowe tried to make a diving stop and missed, and three runs came around to score. "The door-slammer," Masterson said. "I went up to the plate looking for my pitch and found it," Arias said. Guerrero added a two-run home run that inning and the Rangers finished with 17 hits as well as their biggest margin of victory this season. All without Young, Andrus and catcher Bengie Molina, who also got the night off. "They just hit us around," Acta said. "Those guys have a very good offense. They rested three of their regulars. To go out and bang out all those hits, they're a very good offense."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.