ARLINGTON, Texas — Nelson Cruz took a slow trot around the bases after hitting a towering three-run homer in his return to Texas.
The Baltimore Orioles slugger wasn’t really savoring the moment. He was cramping so bad that he almost didn’t even take that final at-bat in the eighth inning.
Cruz hit the first pitch thrown by Shawn Tolleson, the fourth Rangers reliever, an estimated 404 feet deep into the left field seats to cap a tiebreaking six-run outburst as the Orioles won 8-3 on Tuesday night.
“We were debating, he and I were,” manager Buck Showalter said. “He go about halfway down the first, and that was a cramp trot.”
Likening his first game against the Rangers to one of his first days in the big leagues, when everything went so fast, Cruz said he just tried to stay in the moment and stay focused.
“Kind of weird. Going from the other side of the plate is totally different than coming around like I used to,” Cruz said. “It was overall a good day.”
Cruz was the 2011 AL championship series MVP on the way to the Rangers’ second consecutive World Series. When introduced before drawing a walk in the first, Texas fans responded with an extended ovation. While there were some boos, those seemed to be outnumbered by fans who called “Cruuuuuzz!” like they used to do when the left fielder was on their side the previous eight seasons.
Heading into free agency last year, Cruz missed the final 50 regular-season games for the Rangers for violating baseball’s drug agreement.
Cruz turned down a $14.1 million qualifying offer in November from the Rangers, who likely would have used him primarily as a designated hitter if he had accepted. He went through the entire offseason before signing an $8 million, one-year deal with the Orioles early in spring training.
“I haven’t seen him in a while and I got to see him and talk to him, playing around a little bit. It was a great feeling. I didn’t like anytime he popped one,” Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus said. “I’ve seen too many when he was on this side, but he’s a talented guy. Whenever he’s on, he can carry a team.”
Through 55 games with the Orioles, Cruz is hitting .313 and leads the majors with 21 homers and 55 RBIs.
WHITE SOX 4, DODGERS 1
LOS ANGELES — Jose Abreu homered for the second straight game and Tyler Flowers also went deep to lead Chicago.
Yasiel Puig went 2 for 4 with a double for the Dodgers on the one-year anniversary of his major league debut.
Hector Noesi (1-3) ended a stretch of 19 winless starts, winning as a starter for the first time since May 6, 2012 with Seattle, after going 0-12 with a 5.42 ERA. The 27-year-old right-hander allowed a run and five hits over six innings with six strikeouts.
Former Dodgers reliever Ronald Belisario pitched a perfect ninth for his fourth save.
Dan Haren (5-4) gave up four runs on six hits through six innings.
ATHLETICS 5, YANKEES 2
NEW YORK — Brandon Moss hit his second homer of the game leading off the 10th inning, and Oakland rallied for the road win.
Returning to the lineup after missing two games with a strained right calf, Moss drilled a full-count pitch from Adam Warren (1-3) into the second deck down the right field line for his 15th homer. That gave the AL West-leading A’s their first lead in a game that was delayed more than an hour at the start by rain.
TWINS 6, BREWERS 4
MILWAUKEE — Josh Willingham hit a three-run homer and Minnesota beat Milwaukee in a game delayed when a fan fell into the Brewers’ bullpen.
BLUE JAYS 5, TIGERS 3
DETROIT — Brett Lawrie’s three-run homer highlighted a big burst for Toronto.
After eight scoreless innings between the AL East and AL Central leaders, both bullpens came unglued in the ninth. The Blue Jays broke through against Joe Nathan (2-2).
PIRATES 4, PADRES 1
SAN DIEGO — Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker hit home runs to back Gerrit Cole’s solid outing for Pittsburgh.
NATIONALS 7, PHILLIES 0
WASHINGTON — Jordan Zimmermann rebounded from a mini-slump to throw eight crisp innings for Washington, and Ryan Zimmerman hit a pair of doubles and handled two chances with aplomb in his debut in left field.
REDS 8, GIANTS 3
CINCINNATI — Devin Mesoraco hit a two-run homer and Jay Bruce emerged from a slump by driving in a pair of runs, leading Cincinnati to a season-high fourth straight win.
ASTROS 7, ANGELS 2
HOUSTON — Jon Singleton homered in his major league debut for Houston.
Jason Castro and Robbie Grossman drove in two runs apiece as the Astros took the lead with a five-run third inning.
METS 2, CUBS 1
CHICAGO — Chris Coghlan homered in the eighth and Nate Schierholtz hit a game-ending RBI single for the Cubs.
Curtis Granderson had three hits for the Mets and drove in their run with a sacrifice fly in the first inning. The Mets failed to win a season-high four straight games.
Hector Rondon (1-1) pitched a scoreless ninth for the win.
Anthony Rizzo led off the bottom of the ninth with a single off Scott Rice (1-2). After New York third baseman David Wright was unable to turn a hard-hit grounder into a double play, Schierholtz pulled a liner into the right-field corner.
DIAMONDBACKS 4, ROCKIES 2
DENVER — Nick Evans and Chris Owings hit back-to-back homers for Arizona, and rookie Chase Anderson won his fourth straight start.
MARLINS 1, RAYS 0
MIAMI — Henderson Alvarez needed only 88 pitches to toss an eight-hitter for his third shutout this year, and Miami sent reeling Tampa Bay home after a winless eight-game trip.
MARINERS 7, BRAVES 5
ATLANTA — John Buck had three hits, including a tiebreaking two-run homer in the seventh inning that helped Seattle rally for its fourth straight win.
INDIANS 5, RED SOX 3
CLEVELAND — Michael Bourn hit a tiebreaking two-run double in the seventh inning, helping Cleveland to its season-high fifth straight win.