ARLINGTON, Texas – Nelson Cruz homered on the first pitch thrown by Tim Wakefield in the 11th inning and the Texas Rangers beat the Boston Red Sox 10-9 Friday night to cap their biggest comeback victory this season.
Cruz's 16th homer was hit deep into the left-field seats on a knuckleball thrown by Wakefield (3-9), the seventh Boston reliever.
As Cruz approached home plate, he flipped his batting helmet to the side and jumped on the plate in the middle of the mob of teammates waiting for him there.
Darren O'Day (4-2) worked a perfect 11th inning against Boston's Nos. 2-4 hitters, extending a team record with his 29th consecutive scoreless appearance. His stretch of 26 1-3 consecutive scoreless innings is the longest active streak in the majors.
Josh Hamilton had four more hits to raise his majors-best average to .362 and scored four times, including in the eighth when he raced home from second base on Vladimir Guerrero's infield hit for a 9-all tie after the Rangers had trailed by six runs earlier in the game. Hamilton, a certain MVP candidate, also had two highlight-reel catches in center field.
The big comeback came a day after Major League Baseball formally approved the sale of the team from Tom Hicks to a group led by Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan, the Hall of Fame pitcher and team president. The new owners immediately implemented lower prices for concessions, parking and merchandise.
There was plenty more bang for the buck for the second consecutive sellout at Rangers Ballpark, and the fifth this season.
J.D. Drew hit two of Boston's five solo home runs, which included three in a row in a seven-run fourth that put the Red Sox up 8-2.
Drew's second homer gave Boston a 9-6 lead in the seventh before Hamilton help the Rangers finish off their comeback. The biggest deficit they had overcome to win was four runs.
Hamilton led off the Texas seventh with a single, went to third on a one-out double by Cruz and scored on David Murphy's sacrifice fly. Bengie Molina then hit a liner to right that looked like it would end the inning, but Drew misplayed the ball and it went over his glove to the wall. It was ruled a double instead of an error and Cruz scored.
An inning later, Hamilton had a two-out double before Daniel Bard's first pitch to Guerrero was high and tight. Guerrero gave a menacing stare toward the mound and a couple of pitches later hit a ball up the middle that second baseman Jed Lowrie fielded. But the throw couldn't get Guerrero sliding headfirst into the bag and Hamilton kept running.
David Ortiz, Adrian Beltre and Drew hit consecutive homers in a seven-pitch span to start the fourth to chase Tommy Hunter. Boston added four more runs in the inning off Scott Feldman for an 8-2 lead. Lowrie had already homered an inning earlier.
Boston hadn't had three consecutive homers since April 22, 2007, when Drew was part of four in a row at home against the New York Yankees.
Texas pulled to 8-6 after three homers off Josh Beckett, including back-to-back shots by Michael Young and Hamilton starting the fifth.
It was Hamilton's 25th homer, to go along with 37 doubles and 79 RBIs.
Lowrie, who led off the third with homer, was robbed by Hamilton of another extra-base hit to start the sixth. Hamilton sprinted toward the warning track, leaped and in mid-air had to reach back with his glove to make the grab. He also took a hit away from Marco Scutaro in the third with a lunging grab, holding on when his momentum caused him to fall down.
Rangers rookie Mitch Moreland hit his first career homer, a two-run shot in the fourth.
NOTES: Murphy had a double and a triple and is hitting .448 (13 for 29) in an eight-game winning streak. ... Beckett's ERA rose to 6.51 after giving up six runs and 10 hits in five innings. He allowed seven runs in 4 2-3 innings in a loss to the Yankees on Sunday. ... Boston has 13 homers the past four games.