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Cano showing signs of breakthrough

ST. PETERSBURG -- Robinson Cano hasn't had many extended slumps in his career, so the relief was visible when he smoked an RBI single in the first inning of Seattle's 4-1 victory over the Rays on Monday and followed with another run-scoring base hit in the eighth.

"That's what I want," Cano said after going 2-for-4 with his first two RBIs in the past 12 games. "I worked so hard in the offseason, but nothing is going to be perfect. You're going to go through good things and bad things. My career has had a lot of good things. It's times like this when you have to be ready, and those are the kind of things that make you stronger and a better player."

Cano has been slump-proof for most of his career, but this season has been a struggle, and he's now hitting .253 with one homer and 13 RBIs in 44 games.

After going 48 at-bats without an RBI, Cano was critical to a Mariners team that has gotten a big first two months from Nelson Cruz but still only posted a 21-23 record.

"The guy's track record is so good, you know he's going to hit," said manager Lloyd McClendon. "You're just waiting on when. But it does show you how good we can be, from a lineup standpoint, when he's hitting."

Cano stayed back better on the ball on Monday, using his back leg better instead of getting out in front of pitches. And the results were welcome indeed.

"It feels good when you get your job done, especially with men in scoring position and a chance to win the game," Cano said. "That's been a struggle, with men in scoring position. Hopefully, we'll start from today."

The multi-RBI game was Cano's first since April 21. The 11 games without an RBI marked the third-longest stretch of his career, two shy of his longest drought of 13, in 2008 with the Yankees.

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast.
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