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Cruz followed a homer by Adrian Beltre with one of his own in the seventh inning, but he flied out to right leading off the 11th. Cruz could be seen limping down the dugout steps, and Esteban German replaced him in the outfield in the bottom half.

“Cruz sort of hurt his groin a little bit, and I didn’t want to take the chance and run him back out there,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “I haven’t had anything from the medical department as to the seriousness of it, but we’ll just have to wait and see how everything is tomorrow.”

Washington said that catcher Mike Napoli, who drove in his 10th run of the World Series earlier in Game 6, was OK after an awkward slide at second base. X-rays on his left ankle were negative.

“Napoli is fine,” Washington said.

That doesn’t appear to be the case with Holliday, who has been banged up a lot this season.

Holliday wandered too far off third base in the sixth inning. Napoli leaped from his crouch and fired a throw down the line, and Beltre slapped the tag on while guarding the base with his foot. Holliday’s right hand bent at an awkward angle, and he was called out on the play.

Holliday said after that game he’ll be ready Friday _ “I should be able to play,” he said _ but manager Tony La Russa offered a more cautious assessment.

“We thought at first he had fractured it, but I was told by the trainer later that it’s not a fracture,” La Russa said. “I think it’s swelling and he’s got a pretty good bruise there. So it may be we need to replace him tomorrow.”

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SECOND FIDDLE: No matter how the World Series winds up, the Texas Rangers realize they won’t be No. 1 back home. And that’s all right.

“That’s such a high standard, the Cowboys, in our marketplace,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “But I don’t really look at it as competition with them.

“I think that our fans are good enough and into the sports scene, especially the championship-caliber teams, that there’s enough room for all of us,” he added.

There’s also the Mavericks to contend with.

Daniels notes attendance has picked up dramatically, with the Rangers drawing just under 3 million this season, “and it was the hottest summer on record.”

“I know me being a pampered New Yorker, I had trouble handling it, and you would have, too,” Daniels said. “And these guys are 40,000 strong in 106 degrees at 7:05 at night.”

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