The hard-hitting Texas Rangers flexed their muscles yet again to thump the Los Angeles Angels 13-6 on Sunday and improve their American League-best record.
Red-hot slugger Josh Hamilton, who had hit nine home runs in his last six games, was limited to a single and a double good for three runs, but Nelson Cruz picked up the slack with a grand slam in the third inning to pace a 19-hit Texas attack.
The sold-out crowd at Rangers Ballpark of nearly 47,000 roared their support and for the second time in the series went home happy with a voucher for a free taco, guaranteed once Texas scored their 10th run of the game.
Defending league champions Texas (23-12) dealt Jered Weaver his first defeat of the season in taking two of three against the Angels (15-20), a popular preseason choice to challenge the Rangers in the West.
Weaver, aiming to become the first American League pitcher to reach six wins, left with a 5-1 record after yielding 10 hits and eight runs in three and one-third innings on the mound.
The Rangers became the first Major League Baseball team to exceed 200 runs scored this season, led by Cruz, who went 4-for-5 with four runs batted in and three runs scored. Elvis Andrus also chipped in and enjoyed a 4-for-5 night at the plate.
Mark Trumbo, Vernon Wells and Kendrys Morales homered for the losers.
The starter and winner for the two-time defending American League champions was Neftali Feliz (3-1). The converted closer pitched six innings and gave up two runs on four hits and struck out five.
MARINERS 6, YANKEES 2
In New York, Andy Pettitte made his much-anticipated return to the Yankees, getting lavished with adoration while pitching into the seventh inning, despite giving up a pair of two-run homers in New York’s loss to the Seattle Mariners.
Nearly lost amid the excitement over Pettitte’s first major league appearance since retiring after the 2010 season was party crasher Kevin Millwood’s performance for Seattle — helped by three double plays. The 37-year-old Millwood (1-4) gave up three hits in seven innings and got his 2,000th career strikeout as Seattle avoided a three-game sweep.
The Yankees tried to prevent their old pal Pettitte from taking the loss with a rally in the eighth against four Seattle relievers. Robinson Cano was walked with two outs by Charlie Furbush with the bases loaded to make it 4-2. Mark Teixeira, though, struck out to end the inning.
In other AL play, it was:
Rays 9, Orioles 8
Tigers 3, Atheletics 1
Red Sox 12, Indians 1
Royals 9, White Sox 1
Twins 4, Blue Jays 3
AP, CINCINNATI, Ohio
Joey Votto hit a grand slam in the ninth inning for his third home run of the game, rallying the Cincinnati Reds to a rain-delayed 9-6 victory over the Washington Nationals on Sunday.
Votto hit solo homers in his first two at-bats and finished a big day with his second career slam with two outs in the ninth.
Washington came into the game with only 15 homers allowed all season, fewest in the majors. Votto broke out of his power drought and helped the Reds avoid a sweep with three perfect swings.
The last one came against struggling closer Henry Rodriguez (1-3), who had trouble with his control on the wet mound. Rodriguez walked two batters to load the bases with two outs, then left a 2-2 pitch up and over the plate to Votto.