Defensive flubs like this for Nelson Cruz are all too common, but on Wednesday he made the defensive play of the game and helped the Rangers win a series in Oakland.
Nelson Cruz will forever be remembered for one misplayed ball in right field in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series. It's hard to say whether Cruz would've caught the infamous ball off the right-field wall had he played it better, but he gave himself no chance on a ball that would've ended the World Series with a world championship in the Texas Rangers' pockets.
He'll be remembered for that over the way he put the team on his back in the ALCS that year — a six-game win over the Detroit Tigers, who come to town this weekend for a four-game set.
There's been plenty of other botched plays in right field for Cruz, even on this past road trip when he had a botched fly ball in Milwaukee that led to some Brewers runs. It happens from time to time for the outfielder.
On Wednesday afternoon in the Rangers' recent house of horrors, O.co Coliseum in Oakland, Cruz had a big play in the field that saved at least two runs right after he'd broken the game open at the plate with a three-run home run.
With two runners on, Oakland's Brandon Moss roped a line drive to right-center that looked like it would fall in the gap and maybe roll to the wall, easily allowing Oakland to score two runs on what would've likely been a triple for Moss. Cruz, running at top speed, which is faster than he's often given credit for, laid out in a full dive and backhanded the ball for the inning's third out. Running back to the dugout, Cruz looked happier with himself than he did with his three-run blast an inning earlier.
“Four or five steps before I dove, I thought I had a chance to get it,” Cruz told The Dallas Morning News. “It was one of those situations where you have to dive. Thank God I was able to get it.”
Will Cruz win any Gold Gloves in his career? No, and he's bound to have some more flubs in the field for the Rangers and for some other team after this season, as he'll likely be gone via free agency this winter, but for one day on Wednesday, Cruz could label himself as a defensive hero as the Rangers exorcised some demons by winning a series in Oakland, where they lost the AL West last year.