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The grand slam by Cruz ended the game that had been postponed because of the threat of more wet weather that never happened a day after Game 1 last Saturday night was delayed twice by rain and didn't end until just after midnight.
There should be ideal weather conditions this weekend, when the game-time temperatures are expected to be around 80 degrees with no chance of rain.
After going 1 for 15 with a single in the AL division series against Tampa Bay, Cruz is 6 for 18 against the Tigers, with a double, five homers and 11 RBIs, matching the ALCS record and one shy of the tying the mark for any postseason series.
"Yes, it's amazing with him hitting the ball out of the ballpark the way he's doing it. But it certainly isn't anything we haven't seen before," Washington said. "We're just happy that it's happening at this time."
Cruz hit six homers and set a postseason record with 13 extra-base hits last October when the Rangers won their first AL pennant. Of his 11 career postseason homers, seven have come in the seventh inning or later -- a mark surpassed only by Bernie Williams, Reggie Jackson and Derek Jeter.
The Rangers acquired Cruz with Carlos Lee from Milwaukee in their July 2006 trade. Cruz finished that season with the Rangers, and then started and ended 2007 in the majors with a stint at Triple-A Oklahoma in between.
But at the end of spring training in 2008, the final roster spot came down to Cruz or Jason Botts, both young power hitters out of minor league options. Texas went with Botts, who hit only .158 in 15 games with 18 strikeouts in 38 at-bats and was designated for assignment. Botts never again played in the majors.
Cruz cleared waivers and was sent outright to Oklahoma, where he had an MVP season in the Pacific Coast League. He hit .342 with 37 home runs, 99 RBIs and 24 stolen bases in 103 games for the RedHawks before rejoining the Rangers the final six weeks of the season -- when he hit .330 with seven homers and 26 RBIs in 31 games.
Originally signed as a 17-year-old free agent from the Dominican Republic in 1998, Cruz spent three seasons in the New York Mets' organization before getting traded to Oakland and later Milwaukee. Now he's a postseason standout for the Rangers.
"It's very gratifying, satisfying, all of the above, simply because we need Nelson. He's a big part of our team," Washington said. "Not only on the offensive side, defensive side, status in the clubhouse, energy that he brings, all of that comes into play."
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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