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Cruz Makes History in Rangers Win

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images
    Nelson Cruz #17 of the Texas Rangers.

    Right fielder Nelson Cruz became the first American League player to hit at least one home run in the first four games of a season during the Rangers' win over the Mariners.

    With its 6-4 victory over Seattle, Texas remains one of four unbeaten teams.

    "We've got a solid offense," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "Anybody in the lineup can get you. Tonight Elvis [Andrus] got us going. And Cruz came back and got another one. ... Anytime you've got that lineup, that's what it's all about."

    Cruz went to the plate in the fourth inning guessing he'd get a first-pitch curve from Seattle starter Erik Bedard. Instead, Bedard threw something else off-speed and Cruz adjusted with a drive over the center-field fence to give him four of Texas' 13 homers this season.

    "In that at-bat I was thinking, hit the ball through the hole [at] second base hard, because he was throwing that curveball," Cruz said "I was hoping he would throw that so I could hit it the other way, but he threw me a changeup and I turned on it."

    Wille Mays and Mark McGwire are the only other players to homer in the first four games of a season in Major League Baseball history.

    Mays did it for the Giants in 1971, while McGwire accomplished the feat as a Cardinal in 1998.

    Rangers off to best start since 1996

    Andrus, who didn't homer last season, hit the seventh of his career off a cutter with nobody on in the first. When he ran down the dugout steps, his teammates remained seated with blank expressions. Washington was the first to offer congratulations, followed by the rest of the team.

    "I knew they were going to do something. I knew they were going to plan something because it's been a little while since I hit the last one," Andrus said about the silent treatment.

    Derek Holland pitched six effective innings for Texas (4-0), off to its best start since opening 7-0 in 1996.

    Holland (1-0) was given the No. 4 spot in the rotation out of spring training, and he cemented his role by allowing three runs and seven hits with five strikeouts and one walk.

    Neftali Feliz worked a perfect ninth for his first save.

    Bedard (0-1) allowed five runs -- three earned -- and four hits over five innings in his first start in 20 months.

    Bedard gave up two homers, but he struck out three and walked two in a positive step in his comeback from a series of shoulder injuries.

    Milton Bradley had three hits for the Mariners (2-2).

    Gusty 20 mph wind made fly balls and popups a challenge for fielders. With two outs in the first, Rangers first baseman Mike Napoli was in foul territory lining up Bradley's popup. But the ball sailed fair and dropped between Napoli and second baseman Ian Kinsler, with Bradley being credited with a single.

    The Rangers capitalized on Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki's error to make it 3-0 in the second. After Napoli drew a two-out walk, Yorvit Torrealba's line drive to right kicked off the heel of Suzuki's glove.

    Julio Borbon, the No. 9 hitter, followed with his two-run triple to right-center.

    The Mariners rallied in the fourth on ex-Ranger Justin Smoak's RBI double and Miguel Olivo's run-scoring groundout, but Cruz's solo shot in the bottom half made it 4-2.

    Chone Figgins' RBI groundout in the fifth pulled Seattle within 4-3, but Josh Hamilton's two-out RBI double in the fifth restored Texas' two-run pad.

    Michael Young hit a leadoff double in the sixth and scored on Torrealba's double-play ball, making it 6-3.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.