Cruz ties record with Friday's walk-off

Cruz ties record with Friday's walk-off

ARLINGTON -- Nelson Cruz created a little history on Friday night.

His game-winning home run off Yankees pitcher Chad Gaudin was not only his third walk-off blast of the season, but also his fifth extra-innings home run. That ties him with Charlie Maxwell for the most extra-innings home runs in a season in Major League history. Maxwell, an outfielder, had five for the Tigers in 1960.

Cruz's three walk-off home runs are also the most ever in one season in Rangers history.

"It's special," Cruz said. "It's special when you're in that situation and your team is going good like we are. Every play is important and every home run is big. That's what's so fun."

All three of Cruz's walk-off home runs this season have come in extra innings. He hit one in the 10th inning on July 27 against Oakland and in the 11th inning on Aug. 13 against Boston. No other Ranger had more than two walk-off home runs in a season.

The last American League player to have that many in a season was Justin Morneau in 2007. Jim Thome had four for Cleveland in '01.

Cruz also had an eighth-inning home run on Friday night to send the game into extra innings. He is the first player this season to hit a homer that sent a game into extra innings and then hit a walk-off shot after that. Also, his last two walk-off home runs have come on the first pitch of the at-bat as did his homer in the eighth inning on Friday.

"I just try to stay calm in those situations," Cruz said. "I just try to focus. I go up there with the mindset that I have to do something right there for my team."

The three walk-off blasts are a Rangers record, but not a personal record for Cruz. He said he hit four walk-off home runs in the Minor Leagues in 2005 while in the Brewers' organization.