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Cruz off to another hot start

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ARLINGTON -- Nelson Cruz entered Sunday night's game leading the Rangers with a .500 batting average, 10 hits and four RBIs in the first five games. He briefly moved down in the lineup, hitting seventh Saturday, but homered in the ninth inning and found himself hitting sixth again Sunday.

"It's always nice to see Cruz swing the bat because he's such a big part of my lineup," manager Ron Washington said. "He's one of the guys that we're going to depend on to drive in the runs. It's nice that he's feeling pretty good about himself and he's going there and showing it."

Cruz spent much of Spring Training playing in the World Baseball Classic for the gold-medal winning Dominican Republic team. He hit .324 (10-for-33) in eight WBC games and said upon his return to the Rangers that he expected the experience to help him at the plate early in the season, as it did when he played for his home country in 2009. That year, he hit three home runs in the Rangers' first five games.

Cruz also started the season on a hot streak in 2010 and 2011, homering four times in the first five games each season.

Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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