ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 10: Nelson Cruz #17 of the Texas Rangers hits a walk off grand slam home run in the bottom of the 11th inning to win Game Two of the American League Championship Series 7-3 against the Detroit Tigers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 10, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Last year, the Rangers made the World Series for the first time ever. One of the hitters who helped them get there was outfielder Nelson Cruz. Cruz was coming off an excellent season at the plate, where he hit .318-.378-.576 with 22 HRs, 78 RBIs, 60 runs and 17 stolen bases in just under 400 at bats. Cruz went on to hit .400 with 3 HRs and 3 RBI in the ALDS against the Tampa Rays. He followed that up by hitting .350 with 2 more HRs and driving in 5 runs in the ALCS vs the Yankees. He tailed off in the World Series against the excellent Giants pitching staff, hitting just .200 but did hit another ball out of the park, for a total of 6 home runs in 60 at bats.
Well, Cruz had another solid season at the plate, hitting .263-.312-.509 with 29 HRs, 87 RBI, 64 runs and 9 stolen bases in 475 at bats. And based on how he is hitting in the playoffs, he seems to like hitting under pressure. Cruz hit a game-winning, walk-off grand slam on Monday night, finishing with 2 HRs and 5 RBI in the game.
Tonight, he hit a 3 run home run in the 10th inning off of Tigers closer Jose Valverde after Josh Hamilton scored the game winning run earlier in the inning. In his career, Cruz has hit 10 HRs and driven in 20 runs in just 89 at bats in the postseason.
Yes, Cruz enjoys hitting under pressure. Like Reggie Jackson did back in the day.