Normal protocol was scrapped Saturday night as the Texas Rangers tried to end a season-worst skid.
Joe Nathan hadn't pitched two full innings in nearly three years, and Nelson Cruz found himself in a different spot in a Rangers lineup that hadn't delivered in the clutch in what seemed like that long.
Desperation hadn't set in at Rangers Ballpark, but sometimes change is good.
Nathan logged scoreless innings in the ninth and 10th, and Cruz doubled home Adrian Beltre with the winning run as the Rangers beat Minnesota 4-3 to snap a five-game slide.
Cruz went 3 for 5 and had doubled in Beltre in the second inning for the Rangers' first run. Nathan (1-2) won for the first time this season with his first six-out effort since Aug. 21, 2009.
Josh Hamilton and Beltre launched solo homers as the Rangers climbed out of 2-0 and 3-2 deficits.
The victory was the Rangers' first this month and could send them to the All-Star break riding a little momentum if they can complete the first half with another victory tonight.
"We needed this one bad," said Nathan, who hadn't pitched since June 28 and threw a season-high 36 pitches. "We fell into a funk. For us to pull this one out and pull it out the way we did, these usually do get teams going."
Cruz's double in 10th ends Texas Rangers' five-game skid
Fort Worth Star-Telegram | Jul 8