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Cruz's Classic performance a hit with Mariners

March 12, 2017

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Mariners miss Nelson Cruz and their other teammates competing in the World Baseball Classic, but they certainly didn't miss what Cruz did -- and said -- in the Dominican Republic's dramatic 7-5 win over the United States on Saturday night in Miami."Awesome," manager Scott Servais said

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Mariners miss Nelson Cruz and their other teammates competing in the World Baseball Classic, but they certainly didn't miss what Cruz did -- and said -- in the Dominican Republic's dramatic 7-5 win over the United States on Saturday night in Miami.
"Awesome," manager Scott Servais said after watching his designated hitter launch the go-ahead three-run homer off Andrew Miller as the Dominicans came from five runs down. "I couldn't have been any happier for him. It doesn't get much bigger for those guys.
"Certainly, the Dominican team was into it. Against a very, very good pitcher, it was crazy watching the game. I thought his comment in the postgame interview was pretty cool."

Cruz gave a nice shout out to his full-time team in an on-field interview in the wake of the win. Asked on MLB Network if there was any team in the world better than the powerhouse Dominican squad, Cruz laughed and said, "Maybe the Mariners." 
:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::New Mariners teammate Jarrod Dyson appreciated Cruz's clutch performance.
"It looked like he was hunting something, and he wasn't going to swing until he got it," Dyson said. "It's a good thing he's on our team, I'll tell you that. I could get used to looking at that all day."
The Mariners had another moment in the Dominicans' 10-3 win over Colombia on Sunday as shortstop Jean Segura's three-run double broke things open in the 11th inning. Segura went 3-for-6 with two doubles and two runs while leading off in his Classic debut.

The Dominican team, which also includes Robinson Cano, has now clinched a spot into the second round of play in San Diego starting Tuesday.
Flipping out over Motter?
Taylor Motter has caught the attention of Servais with his play the last few games … as well as his dramatic hair flip while putting his helmet back on after stealing second base two games in a row.

Motter, acquired from the Rays, is competing with Shawn O'Malley and Mike Freeman for the utility role, and the Mariners like his right-handed bat. His shoulder-length hair makes him tough to miss as well.
"I think it's stood out how Motter has played the last few days, the way the ball is coming off the bat," Servais said. "You will start to see him at first base a little bit, and you'll see him in the outfield now. He certainly has tremendous hair flip. I think that will grow. I can hear the crowd holding their breath until he flips it back up. I'm sure [marketing director Kevin] Martinez has T-shirts coming."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter [


@GregJohnsMLB]() and listen to his podcast.