By Evan Brunell
Either works, really, because Cruz's exploits were not only deserving of a "Whoa!," but also seemed to come with ease to the 31-year-old. It's no surprise that he was named the MVP of the series after hitting .364/.440/1.273 in 22 at-bats. Let's take a look ...
- Cruz's six homers and 13 RBI in the ALCS set a record. All told, Cruz has hit 12 homers in the postseason over the last two seasons, which is already tied for 14th in MLB history. His 8.08 ratio for homers per at-bat (12 HR, 97 AB) is second all-time behind Carlos Beltran's 7.45. Cruz is the first player in MLB history to have at least six homers in two separate postseasons.
- Cruz is just the fifth player in LCS history to hit at least five homers in a single series, joining Reggie Jackson (1977 World Series), Ken Griffey, Jr. (1995 ALCS), Juan Gonzalez (1996 ALDS) and Chase Utley (2009 World Series).
- Elias Sports Bureau reports that Cruz's 12 homers over the last two postseasons are the most anyone has hit in consecutive postseasons, snapping Jim Thome's mark set from 1998-99, when Thome had 10. Cruz is also the first player to hit each of his teams' first five homers in any postseason series. The only other man to hit his team's first four homers was Babe Ruth in the 1926 World Series; some rarefied company.
- Cruz is the first player in postseason history to hit two extra-inning homers in the same series. One of them was a walkoff grand slam, also a postseason first. Those two extra-inning homers also match the record in the entire postseason, with three other players accomplishing the feat. That would be Javy Lopez (1995, 1996), Bernie Williams (1996, 1999) and David Ortiz (2004 ALDS and ALCS).
- And of course, Cruz threw out Miguel Cabrera at home plate in the bottom eighth of Game 4 to preserve a tie before hitting a three-run blast in the 11th to seal the game for Texas.
- Less impressive, but no less a slouch are some other records, including hitting the fourth grand slam of the 2011 postseason, and the first in a ALCS game since J.D. Drew in Game 6 of the 2007 ALCS for the Red Sox. With two homers in Game 2, he became the 20th player to accomplish that feat in an ALCS game since teammate Josh Hamilton did it last season in Game 4.
- Cruz didn't just hit a ton of homers, he also added two doubles and now ranks second for the most extra-base hits in a playoff series, behind Hideki Matsui's nine for the Yankees in 2004.
- Cruz also began his LCS career with a 10-game hitting streak. Greg Luzinski holds the record with 13, doing it from the 1976 ALCS through Game 1 of the 1980 ALCS. Opponent Miguel Cabrera is working on 13 straight, having tied Luzinski with an opposite-field homer in Game 6.