Cruz and the Rangers continue their three-game series against the Royals on Tuesday after a big offensive night in the opener.
The Rangers (64-68) won for just the fourth time in 18 games Monday, beating the Royals (56-75) 9-4. Cruz had three hits, including a three-run homer in his season debut. Milton Bradley, Michael Young and Joaquin Arias also each had three hits to help the Rangers finish with 19, one shy of their season high.
Cruz, who was promoted from Triple-A Oklahoma earlier in the day, appeared in 96 games for the Rangers last season, hitting .235 with nine homers and 34 RBIs. He hit .400 (6-for-15) against the Royals last season, hitting two home runs and driving in six runs in seven games.
“The last time he came up, that’s what he did in Kansas City,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “He was very aggressive and swung the bat very well. I like the aggressiveness and how he attacked the balls that were in the zone.”
Texas is 5-2 against Kansas City this season, including 3-1 at Kauffman Stadium. The Rangers have averaged 7.0 runs in their season series against the Royals, and in 39 games against the AL Central they are averaging 6.3 runs— their highest total against any division they’ve faced.
The Royals, meanwhile, have lost eight of nine. David DeJesus had three of Kansas City’s 11 hits Monday.
Kevin Millwood (7-7, 5.24 ERA) takes the mound for Texas on Tuesday following one of his best outings of the season.
Millwood pitched his second complete game of the season on Wednesday against the Tigers, allowing six hits in a 9-1 win. The right-hander had lost his previous three decisions and the Rangers were winless in his last four starts.
“I think I pitched better tonight than I did any time this year,” he said. “It show me the work I’m doing is paying off.”
Millwood is 5-3 with a 5.22 ERA in 10 starts against the Royals. In two starts against them this season, he’s 1-0 despite a 7.30 ERA.
Zack Greinke (9-9, 3.86) will counter for Kansas City. Greinke is 0-2 with a 3.24 ERA in his last three starts, but has allowed a total of one earned run in his last two.
On Thursday against the Indians, Greinke allowed five runs—one earned— and six hits over five innings of a 10-3 loss.
The 24-year-old right-hander is 2-3 with a 4.11 ERA in six starts and two relief appearances against the Rangers. He’s faced them once this season, allowing two runs and four hits over seven innings of a 2-1 loss on May 1.