Extra Bases: Nelson Cruz delivers again

ARLINGTON, Texas -- What more can you ask from Nelson Cruz so far this season?

He leads the Rangers with seven home runs. He has a team-leading 23 RBIs. He hit a game-tying two-run home run in Sunday's 4-3 victory over Boston that finished off a sweep and kept the Rangers 2 1/2 games up on Oakland as a new week starts.

It's when his hits are coming that sticks out most through 30 games. On this homestand alone, Cruz got the Rangers back in two games they eventually went on ti win.

On Tuesday, he hit a solo home run to cut the Chicago White Sox's lead to 2-1 in the fourth inning. White Sox left-hander Hector Santiago had been cruising along up until Cruz's sixth homer. Jeff Baker made it back-to-back home runs to tie the score and the Rangers went on to pull away for a 10-6 victory.

Cruz was back at it Sunday. With Jon Lester leading the Rangers 3-1 and only giving up three hits entering the sixth inning, Cruz came up with another pivotal hit after Adrian Beltre's one out single. Cruz crushed a hanging curveball from Lester over the center-field fence to tie the score at 3.

He later watched from the on-deck circle as Beltre won the game with a two-out walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth.

Beltre pointed to Cruz and Ian Kinsler's hot start to one of the reasons the Rangers are 20-11 to start the season.

"Nelson and Ian have been the key for us the first five weeks of the season," Beltre said. "They've been huge for us. I don't we'd be where we are without those two guys. They are picking the team up until the rest of the guys get hot."

Cruz said after Sunday's game that he doesn't think about clutch moments or key hits when the Rangers are down. But his manager and teammates notice.

"I don't think about that stuff," Cruz said. 'You try to go out there and do your best every at-bat."

Right now, Cruz is getting it done.

Other notes:

Pierzynski swings and misses: Catcher A.J. Pierzynski asked manager Ron Washington to keep him in the lineup Sunday and he went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. Expect to see Pierzynski back out there the next three games against the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers with right-handers starting each game. Pierzynski is in a 13-for-73 slide, so a Geovany Soto start in the next three days won't be surprising.

Kinsler's streak: Kinsler will take an 11-game hitting streak on the nine-game road trip. It's his longest streak since he hit in 12 straight in July, 2011. It's the longest by a Ranger this season.

Moreland vs. lefties: At some point it might be time to stop talking about first baseman Mitch Moreland against left-handed pitching. He has 10 hits in his last 20-bats against lefties and he hit his first homer off a southpaw Sunday since Aug. 25, 2011. Moreland is 21 for his last 52 overall to raise his average from .157 to .282, fourth-best on the team.