- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 16, 2011

ARLINGTON, Texas — Move over, Reggie, Babe and all those other October sluggers. Nobody has ever had a postseason power surge like Nelson Cruz just did in the AL championship series.

With a two-run homer Saturday night, Cruz upped his ALCS totals to six homers and 13 RBIs — both major league records for a postseason series. The numbers will hold, too, because his Texas Rangers beat the Detroit Tigers 15-5 in Game 6 to advance to the World Series for the second straight year.

“When the team needed me, I delivered,” Cruz said during the on-field ceremony after receiving his MVP trophy. “It was amazing.”

Cruz was an easy choice for series MVP. He went 8 for 22 (.364), with every hit going for extra bases; his two non-homers were doubles. Only once has anyone had more extra-base hits in a postseason series; Hideki Matsui had nine for the Yankees when they lost the 2004 ALCS to Boston.

Consider his other Cruz-ian feats this round:

— He hit the first game-ending grand slam in postseason history.

— He became the first player with extra-inning homers in two games of one series.

— He became the franchise’s career postseason home run king.

“Amazing hitter,” said teammate Mike Napoli, who bats in front of Cruz. “A lot of power. When he gets it going, it’s pretty impressive.”

On Saturday night, the Rangers already were well on their way to victory when Cruz sent another high-arching shot over the left-field wall in the seventh inning. A stadium filled with fans eager to celebrate the pennant chanted “Cruuuuuuz” long and loud, and he stepped out of the dugout for a quick salute.

When Michael Young caught the final out at first base, Cruz was running toward the play and began smiling. He then dropped to a knee and said a quick prayer, slapped the ground and charged into the pileup near the mound.

During the ceremony, there were more roars of “Cruuuuuuz” whenever his name was mentioned and of course when he received the hardware.

“Nellie worked hard all year,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “Coming down the stretch, he didn’t really have a whole lot of at-bats. He kept battling, his teammates supported him and in the end it all came together.”

Cruz homered in every game the Rangers won — and in every game, period, except the third. He also helped Texas win Game 4 by throwing out a runner at the plate in the eighth inning of a tie game.

Coming into this series, Cruz may have been the least likely player to have a historic performance.

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