Cardinals vs. Rangers: Napoli's Homer Makes It 2-2 In 5th

When they said before the game that with Nelson Cruz moving from No. 7 in the Rangers to No. 6, new No. 7 hitter Mike Napoli would have to protect Cruz, my first question was, "So who's going to protect Mike Napoli?"

Well, technically that job falls to David Murphy ... but it would have fallen to Murphy regardless of who's batting seventh. And the real point here is that protection is exceptionally overrated.

In the top of the fifth, Adrian Beltre led off with a sharp single into right field for the Rangers' second hit. That brought up Nelson Cruz, who struck out swinging at a high cutter that actually got away from Chris Carpenter.

Which brought up Napoli, who smacked Carpenter's second pitch, a 93-mile-an-hour fastball that grazed the top of the strike zone, well over the fence in right field.


Maybe, as Joe Buck suggested, there's something about the No. 7 spot in the Rangers' lineup.

Or maybe Nelson Cruz and Mike Napoli are just really good at hitting fastballs in their wheelhouses.

Carpenter did escape the inning with no further damage, so it's Cardinals 2, Rangers 2 in the bottom of the fifth.

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