09/11/10 7:36 PM ET
Rangers observe 9-11 with National Guard
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
Former President George W. Bush was in attendance on Saturday night.
Cruz ties record with Friday's walk-off
ARLINGTON -- Nelson Cruz created a little history on Friday night.His game-winning home run off Yankees pitcher Chad Gaudin was not only his third walk-off blast of the season, but also his fifth extra-innings home run. That ties him with Charlie Maxwell for the most extra-innings home runs in a season in Major League history. Maxwell, an outfielder, had five for the Tigers in 1960. Cruz's three walk-off home runs are also the most ever in one season in Rangers history. "It's special," Cruz said. "It's special when you're in that situation and your team is going good like we are. Every play is important and every home run is big. That's what's so fun." All three of Cruz's walk-off home runs this season have come in extra innings. He hit one in the 10th inning on July 27 against Oakland and in the 11th inning on Aug. 13 against Boston. No other Ranger had more than two walk-off home runs in a season. The last American League player to have that many in a season was Justin Morneau in 2007. Jim Thome had four for Cleveland in '01. Cruz also had an eighth-inning home run on Friday night to send the game into extra innings. He is the first player this season to hit a homer that sent a game into extra innings and then hit a walk-off shot after that. Also, his last two walk-off home runs have come on the first pitch of the at-bat as did his homer in the eighth inning on Friday. "I just try to stay calm in those situations," Cruz said. "I just try to focus. I go up there with the mindset that I have to do something right there for my team." The three walk-off blasts are a Rangers record, but not a personal record for Cruz. He said he hit four walk-off home runs in the Minor Leagues in 2005 while in the Brewers' organization.
Oliver amused by historical oddity
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers set a record on Friday by using 11 pitchers in the game. Darren Oliver was one of them. The Rangers broke the record set on Sept. 1, 1993 when they used 10 pitchers in a game against the Red Sox.Oliver, then making his Major League debut, was one of the pitchers used in that game also, a 9-7 win. Oliver entered the game in the bottom of the 10th inning with two out and Billy Hatcher on first base. He was brought in by manager Kevin Kennedy to face Mike Greenwell in a lefty vs. lefty matchup. Hatcher broke for second on the first pitch, and the ball sailed high and wide all the way to the backstop. Kennedy then had Oliver intentionally walk Greenwell before bringing in right-hander Mike Schooler. "I think Kennedy saw that things weren't going to work out," Oliver said. "I probably would have hit Greenwell in the head. A few years later, I talked to Billy Hatcher about it. He said he saw my knees were shaking and no way was I paying any attention to him." Oliver overcame that first game. Seventeen years later, he is still pitching and only needs one more appearance to assure him of being back in 2011. Oliver has 58 appearances and needs one more to automatically guarantee his $3.25 million contract for next season. "Somehow, I think I'll pitch in 5-10 more games," said Oliver, who entered Saturday with a 2.54 ERA on the season. "At least I earned it."
Rangers pitchers threw 264 pitches on Friday night, fourth most since 1988. ... Catcher Bengie Molina called all those pitches and was off on Saturday. Matt Treanor was the Rangers catcher, but manager Ron Washington said that was planned anyway. ... Julio Borbon leads the Rangers with eight RBIs in September after driving in four combined in July and August.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.