Mike Napoli is hit, then delivers big hit

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers catcher/DH Mike Napoli tried to convince home plate umpire Paul Nauert that a pitch from Erik Bedard in the second inning hit him on the wrist.

"I showed him the bruise, but he said it hit the bat," Napoli said. "It hit the bat after it hit me and he probably heard it. There was nothing I could do about it. I wasn't thinking about that when I went up there again."

Napoli came up against in the sixth with two on and two out in a 1-0 game. He got a fastball up on a 1-2 count and didn't miss it, hitting a high shot to left-center field and into the seats. (In a cool moment, a Red Sox fan caught the ball and gave it to a young Rangers fan.) The homer made it a 4-0 game, giving the team a cushion on its way to a shutout, the club's 15th of the season (two shy of the team-record 17 in 1977).

"I tried to throw strikes out there and keep the team in the ballgame. It pretty much ended up with a good hit by Napoli," Bedard said. "That was the deciding factor of the game. I just tried to throw a good pitch and try to get him out, but he got it out."

The homer continued Napoli's impressive run. He has an 11-game hitting streak and is batting .311 in that span. It was his 21st home run of the season, the second-highest total of his career, trailing only the 26 that he hit last season for the Angels. It was the fourth homer for the Rangers this season of the three- or four-run variety to be hit in the sixth inning or later, and Napoli has two of them.

"I've been trying to do the same thing I've been doing all year, just give a tough at-bat and drive the ball somewhere," Napoli said. "I'm just getting hits right now."