Kansas City, Mo. David Murphy had three hits, and Nelson Cruz drove in two runs, yet their late-inning catches in the outfield drew the most praise in the Texas clubhouse.
“The defense was outstanding,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said after a 4-3 victory over Kansas City on Wednesday night. “Murphy and Cruzie just saved the game for us.”
Rookie Mitch Moreland homered again as the Rangers increased their division lead to 91⁄2 games over Oakland, which lost in New York.
With two Royals on base in the sixth, Murphy made an exceptional catch on Gregor Blanco’s fly down the left-field line to the warning track.
“Murphy made a great play on Blanco, that’s two runs,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “That absolutely saved the game for them.”
Said Murphy: “We know he tries to slap the ball the other way so we were playing the lines. I didn’t think it was going to carry as much as it did, but I got there at the last second and stretched and reached out and got it.”
In the ninth, Wilson Betemit and Billy Butler each sent Cruz to the right-field wall to make catches, allowing rookie Neftali Feliz to record his 34th save in 37 opportunities.
“They both smoked the ball,” Yost said. “I thought they both had a chance to go out. The outfielders were playing so deep. Billy just scalded it.”