ARLINGTON, Texas -- Nelson Cruz is beginning to make this walkoff thing a habit. The slugger has three homers and four wins on the game's final swing, including a dramatic long ball in the bottom of the 13th early Saturday morning. It ended a five hour, 12 minute marathon game (the club's longest of the season in terms of time) and kept the Rangers 7.5-games in front of the A's. The three walkoff homers are a club record.
"It's not like he's hitting singles and driving guys home from second," Michael Young said. "He's doing it with solo homers. That's not easy to do. He likes those situations."
Cruz actually hit two big homers on Friday. And he wasted little time doing it, hitting both off first pitches. He tied the score with a blast off Joba Chamberlain to lead off the eighth. That one landed in the seats in left field. He then led off the 13th with a homer to right-center.
A sellout crowd of 46,179 -- many of them still there to watch fireworks that lit up the sky just before 1 a.m. -- cheered wildly. Cruz jumped on home plate and was piled on by teammates, a celebration he's starting to get used to.
"We were a tired team physically; we didn't get to bed until after 3 in the morning," Young said. "That was a team effort. We kept battling and never gave up. We hung in and got the win. That was a fun game to play in. Those kinds of games favor the home team because you get last crack at it."
More reaction and thoughts:
* One of the first things Washington said: "Thank God we were in September." He used 11 pitchers on Friday. And the 10 relievers were the story. Matt Harrison, Pedro Strop, Alexi Ogando, Michael Kirkman, Dustin Nippert, Clay Rapada, Neftali Feliz, Darren O'Day, Darren Oliver and Scott Feldman combined to pitch 10 innings and allow 1 run on seven hits with 10 strikeouts and six walks.
* Several players said they were focused on what they were doing, not that it was a win against the Yankees. But Washington hopes it can provide some momentum. "We showed up and went toe-to-toe and got it done," Washington said. "It's important to those guys in the clubhouse to know they are capable."
* From the strange file: Yankees manager Joe Girardi was asked about the apparent missed call on Ian Kinsler's stolen base in the second inning. "That was the difference in the game," Girardi said. I found it an odd response in a game that went 13 innings and had a million things happen after that inning.
* Kinsler had three runs scored, matching his season high. He has nine runs scored in eight starts since returning from the disabled list on Sept. 3. He was ejected for the second time this season.
* The 11 pitchers matched a MLB record. The only other club to use that many pitchers in one game was Seattle on Sept. 25, 1992 against the Rangers. The club's previous high was Sept. 1, 1993, in a 12-inning win over Boston.
* 1B Mitch Moreland reached base three times on walks, becoming just the third Rangers rookie since 1986 to walk three times in a game, joining Chris Davis (Aug. 31, 2008) and Kevin Mench (Aug. 14, 2002).
* The Yankees used closer Mariano Rivera for two innings on Friday. We'll see what that means for his availability over the weekend, though Girardi indicated that he could possibly pitch on Saturday because he threw just 23 pitches.
* Julio Borbon was great on Friday. More on his night coming up on the blog.