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Nelson Cruz, ALCS MVP

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Texas Rangers David Murphy, left, and Nelson Cruz celebrate their 7-3 win over the Detroit Tigers in Game 4 of baseball's American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers.

    Headline writers across the country were once again having a blast on Wednesday night, just two nights after trying to come up with clever headlines using the name "Cruz".

    Samples include "Cruz missile", "Cruz control", "Deja Cruz", "insert clever pun here Cruz."

    It's true, Nelson Cruz locked up the ALCS MVP trophy on Wednesday night with his second transcendent play in three games against the Detroit Tigers, bringing the Texas Rangers to the cusp of a second straight World Series berth.

    Rangers fans will never forget Cruz's walk-off, 11th-inning grand slam on Monday and will also remember his three-run blast on Wednesday night, once again in the 11th inning, and once again turning a tie game into a 7-3 Rangers win.

    But what Cruz did in the eighth inning might have saved the Rangers' season.

    A Texas loss Wednesday would've sent Justin Verlander to the hill today with a chance for the Tigers to take a 3-2 lead heading back to Arlington with a seemingly decisive pitching advantage in Games 6 and 7.

    With Miguel Cabrera on third base after Ron Washington chose to intentionally walk the slugger, Delmon Young sent a rocket deep to right field, where Cruz was waiting.

    Cruz caught the ball, coiled and uncoiled in a flash.

    Surely Cabrera wasn't going to test the Cruz missile. Well he did.

    Cruz's throw was perfect. As pretty as it can get get — a frozen rope that bounced once and hit Mike Napoli right where he stood, about four or five steps before Cabrera arrived and lowered a halfway serious shoulder into Napoli, who easily held on to the ball and stopped the go-ahead run from crossing the plate with Papa Grande on tap to come in for a save situation, in which he is perfect this season.

    Cruz ran into the dugout after the double play, flashing his "guns to hips" celebration, or whatever you call it.

    The three-run blast was huge, making a one-run game a four-run game, but Mike Napoli got the go-ahead RBI in the top of the 11th. No one will remember that.

    But the play of the game was without a doubt the throw from Cruz to nail Cabrera at the plate and keep the game tied at 3-3.

    Go ahead and start engraving "Boomstick" on to that MVP trophy.