TEXAS (Reuters) - Sluggers Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz returned to the Texas lineup in style, each blasting home runs in the Rangers' 4-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Monday.
Hamilton, last season's American League Most Valuable Player, had missed six weeks since fracturing a bone in his right arm while Cruz had been sidelined since May 3 with a strained right quadriceps muscle.
Neither showed any rust in their return, which brought some much-needed muscle to the middle of the Texas batting order.
Hamilton received a standing ovation from the home crowd in his first at-bat, then wasted little time rewarding the support by belting his first homer of the season in the opening inning.
"It felt good to get it out of the way," Hamilton told reporters after finishing 2-for-4 at the plate. "Get the nervousness over. I got to calm it down a little bit after I got down in the dugout and sat down for a little bit."
Cruz followed with a two-run bomb in the sixth for last season's AL champions Texas (25-23), who maintained their half-game lead in the AL West and should be bolstered by the impact of two of their top hitters.
The 30-year-old Hamilton belted 32 home runs and drove in 100 runs while batting .359 last season.
Cruz, also 30, had hit seven home runs with 18 RBI before getting injured. Last season he hit .318 with 22 home runs.
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles and Larry Fine in New York, Editing by Peter Rutherford)