Rangers Win on Cruz's Walk-Off Sac Fly

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Nelson Cruz #17 poses for a portrait during the Texas rangers Photo Day at Surprise on March 2, 2010 in Surprise, Arizona.

    No replay was needed on the game-ending fly for the Texas Rangers -- it made a moot point of the ball Josh Hamilton hit over the wall that wasn't a home run.

    After the Rangers beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-3 Wednesday night on a sacrifice fly by Nelson Cruz in the ninth inning, crew chief Dana DeMuth acknowledged that umpires erred in not doing a video review of Hamilton's earlier hit.

    "It should have been a home run," DeMuth said after watching a postgame replay.

    Hamilton homered in the second, then led off the fourth with an opposite-field shot that clearly sailed over the 14-foot fence in left and ricocheted back into play.

    Second base umpire Doug Eddings signaled that the ball was still in play, though, and Hamilton stopped with a double. Eddings insisted when manager Ron Washington came out to question the call that the ball hit off the top of the wall.

    "If (Eddings) had any doubt in his mind, all he has to do is come to me and we're going to video. That's how sure he was on it," DeMuth said. "A couple of innings later there were a few players, even Baltimore players, that said it was a home run. We had the opportunity to go in and look and I did not do it. It's bad judgment by me but I have to have trust in the crew."

    In the end, it didn't matter.

    Michael Young led off the ninth against Cla Meredith (0-1) with his third hit, a hustling double on a ball that went off the glove of diving shortstop Cesar Izturis into short center. Ian Kinsler and Hamilton walked to load the bases before Cruz's flyball to center off Jason Berken, Baltimore's third pitcher in the inning and seventh in the game.

    "There's no reason for us to sit here and bury the ump and state the obvious," Young said. "It's over and we won the game, and it ended up being a non-factor."

    The replay cleared showed the ball hitting a metal brace attached to a concrete wall supporting the video scoreboard there and bouncing back onto the field.

    "I didn't see it because I was running. I knew it was a 50-50 shot that it was going to go out," Hamilton said. "It's a tough call, especially from down on the field. ... I asked them, you guys want to review that. He said, no, he said he was confident enough in his call. It don't matter now."

    Izturis snapped out of a 4-for-41 slump with three hits and drove in all three runs for the Orioles, who have lost four of five games.

    Frank Francisco (5-3) faced only three batters in his scoreless ninth for Texas, benefiting from a double play after a walk.

    Texas went ahead in the seventh on a pair of unearned runs without hitting a ball out of the infield.

    Matt Treanor's leadoff grounder rolled to a stop on the grass about halfway to third base for an infield hit. Julio Borbon reached on his sacrifice bunt because reliever Matt Albers' double-clutched throw to first was late for an error. After another sacrifice bunt and an intentional walk to Young, Kinsler had an RBI groundout to tie it at 2.

    Vladimir Guerrero drove in the go-ahead run with a hard chopper for an infield single when third baseman Miguel Tejada got his glove on the ball but was unable to handle it.

    Baltimore led 2-0 in the second after a two-run bloop hit by Izturis. That was one of four singles in the same inning that Texas starter Rich Harden got all three outs on strikeouts. Izturis tied the game at 3 with a two-out single in the eighth off Chris Ray.

    Harden struck out five and allowed two runs and eight hits over 5 1-3 innings. He has three straight no-decisions, including his previous start when he left with a 9-7 lead after walking six and giving up seven runs in 2 2-3 innings.

    Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie, who had won his last two starts after an eight-game losing streak that stretched back to last season, left after six innings with a 2-1 lead. The right-hander struck out three with no walks.

    "It seemed like we were in trouble every inning," Guthrie said. "They put the pressure on us and got the win. I didn't feel tremendous out there. It was taxing. Those guys are good hitters."

    NOTES: Hamilton is 4 for 8 since being given a night off Monday and moving from third to fifth in the lineup. He was in an 0-for-13 slide before that. ... Texas is 18-9 since April 22, matching Tampa Bay (18-7) for the most wins in that span. ... Guthrie has a 2.89 ERA in six career starts against Texas. ... Orioles LHP Mike Gonzalez is scheduled to throw an inning at extended spring training in Florida on Thursday. He is rehabbing from a strained left shoulder. ... Baltimore arrived in Texas about 3 a.m. Wednesday after their eight-game homestand. Guthrie came ahead of his teammates.