Cruz, Andrus add special shots to Rangers' tear

Cruz, Andrus add special shots to Rangers' tear

ARLINGTON -- Elvis Andrus went 705 at-bats before he finally hit a home run. Nelson Cruz has made Major League history by hitting four in just 14 at-bats.

Every time the Rangers hit a pitch out of the ballpark, it seems a historical footnote accompanies it, and that was the case again on Monday night in a 6-4 victory over the Mariners at the Ballpark in Arlington. Andrus and Cruz hit home runs, giving the Rangers 13 overall during their season-opening four-game winning streak.

Andrus hit his first home run since Sept. 2, 2009, when he hit a 3-1 pitch from Mariners starter Erik Bedard into the left-field seats with one out in the first inning Monday night. Andrus had gone 705 at-bats since his last home run off of Blue Jays pitcher Scott Richmond at the Ballpark.

"It feels good," Andrus said. "When I was running around the bases, I was taking my time because I didn't know when I'd hit one again." Andrus did not have a home run in 588 at-bats last year, the most in the Major Leagues. It was one shy of a single-season club record, as Otis Nixon did not have a home run in 589 at-bats in 1995. The longest overall home run drought by a Rangers player is 914 by Scott Fletcher in 1987-89.

Andrus had the second longest active streak in the Majors. Angels outfielder Reggie Willits has yet to hit a home run in 822 career at-bats and 392 games. Andrus went 179 games without a home run, but in three games this season he is 5-for-13 with two doubles, a triple and a home run.

"It's like I was telling you in Spring Training, I'm just trying to be more aggressive in hitters' counts," Andrus said.

Cruz remains on a season-opening home run binge that is now making Major League history. Cruz hit a home run off Bedard in the fourth inning and became the third player in Major League history and first in the American League to hit one in each of his team's first four games.

"I don't know, I guess I have the right approach and I'm getting the right pitches in the right situations," Cruz said.

Willie Mays hit one in each of the Giants first four games in 1971 and Mark McGwire did so with the Cardinals in 1998.

"It's special, especially if your team is winning," Cruz said. "That's why we are here, you try to do anything you can to help your team win the game."

Cruz has actually hit a home run in five straight games going back to Game 5 of the World Series. Cruz hit five in the Rangers' first seven games last year.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.