ARLINGTON, Texas — Nelson Cruz thrust his right arm into the air and shouted out in relief while running the bases after hitting his second homer of the night for the Texas Rangers.
After a tough stretch, the Rangers had a loud and clear response Monday night to the message manager Ron Washington delivered the previous day.
Cruz homered twice and the Rangers ended a six-game losing streak with an 8-7 victory over the AL West-leading Oakland Athletics, matching their run total during what had been the majors’ longest active skid.
“We were looking for what happened, get some base hits in RBI situations and just keep grinding,” Washington said. “They just showed what they have the capability of doing — what they did tonight. That was the only thing that I stressed to them.”
Washington had a rare postgame meeting with his team after the Rangers were swept in a four-game series by Toronto, extending their longest home losing streak since 2005. That was part of a 4-11 stretch that dropped them out of first place.
Cruz’s second homer was a two-run shot onto the hill in straightaway center field on an 0-2 pitch from Jesse Chavez (1-1) in the fifth. Cruz emphatically responded while rounding the bases on his 18th homer of the season, and second in two innings. It came right after A.J. Pierzynski’s RBI double and put the Rangers up 7-6.
“It was the run we need in that situation. It was very emotional,” Cruz said. “In our minds, we believe we can do it. We showed what we’re capable of doing.”
Oakland, which entered the four-game series opener with a three-game division lead over Texas, wiped out an early 3-0 deficit with a six-run fourth ignited by a bizarre play before Neal Cotts (3-1) worked 2 1-3 perfect innings in relief of rookie Nick Tepesch.