Cruz goes deep in fifth straight game
Mariners slugger hits solo shot in fourth inning vs. Dodgers
LOS ANGELES -- Nelson Cruz continued his home-run barrage Wednesday by going deep for a fifth straight game. The Mariners slugger hit a solo shot in the fourth inning off Dodgers lefty Brett Anderson in Seattle's 5-2 loss in the Civil Rights Game.
Cruz has six homers and nine RBIs in the past five games for his new team and the five-game streak is the longest of his 11-year Major League career.
"He's swinging the bat extremely well," said manager Lloyd McClendon. "He's slowing down, letting the ball travel, he's using the entire field to hit. He's doing a great job for us."
The 34-year-old now is tied for the second-longest home run streak in Mariners history. Ken Griffey Jr. homered in eight straight games in 1993, tying a Major League record. Alex Rodriguez (1999), Jay Buhner (1995 and '96) and Richie Zisk (1981) also homered in five straight games for Seattle.
Cruz also is tied for the most home runs by a Mariner in the first nine games of a season, equaling Jim Presley (1985), Griffey ('97) and Michael Morse (2013), who had six.
Cruz drove a 1-1 slider from Anderson into the center-field seats with two outs after the Dodgers had taken a 5-0 lead.
Cruz, who led the Majors with 40 home runs last year for Baltimore, was 2-for-18 to start the season before launching a three-run blast in Saturday's 5-4 victory in Oakland. He then hit the game-winning shot in the 10th inning of an 8-7 win over the A's on Sunday and hit four in the three-game series at Dodger Stadium.
The only downside for Cruz is the Mariners were swept by the Dodgers, despite his four home runs, and they fell to 3-6.
"Yeah, no doubt," Cruz said. "Tomorrow should be good, a day to refresh our minds and start fresh. I think everybody needs a day off. I don't think it'll hurt to get a day off."
Cruz homered in his first two games for the Orioles last year, but didn't get his sixth home run until the 19th game of the season, en route to his career high. But he does have a history of getting hot early. While playing for the Rangers, he hit six homers in his first 13 games in 2009, six in his first eight games in 2010 and tied a Major League record in 2011 by going deep in each of the first four games of the season.
Three of his home runs against the Dodgers were to right or right-center field, which he said is a good sign.
"When I'm hitting the ball the other way is when I'm going pretty good," he said.
And he's going well enough that he's currently leading the Majors in home runs and is tied for fourth in RBIs.