Cruz's homer streak reaches 4 games
LOS ANGELES -- Nelson Cruz continued his home run tear on Tuesday, and this time Robinson Cano joined in the fun as the Mariners again flexed some early muscle at Dodger Stadium, but for a second straight night, the Dodgers rallied late for a 6-5 win.
Cruz hit a solo blast to left field in the first inning against Dodgers left-hander David Huff for his fifth home run in the past four games. The 34-year-old right fielder has homered in four straight games, a nice start to his tenure in Seattle after signing a four-year, $57 million deal this winter. That streak equals his career-best streak from April 1-4, 2011.
Cruz's long ball came immediately after Cano hit his first home run of the season, a two-run shot to right field with one out in the first as Seattle took a 3-0 lead. Cruz homered in his first two at-bats on Monday, but the Dodgers overcame a 5-1 deficit to pull out a 6-5 win in 10 innings. On Tuesday, it was a ninth-inning rally off closer Fernando Rodney that voided Seattle's early power display.
"Maybe it's a good message for us," said Cano. "Be ready in the beginning and try to keep scoring the rest of the game. Things happen. But I know we have a good team."
Seattle certainly has shown more offensive punch this season, despite its 3-5 start. The Mariners have hit 13 homers in their first eight games, and 20 of their 30 runs have come via the long ball.
Cruz, who led the Majors with 40 home runs last year for Baltimore, was 2-for-18 without a home run to start his season before launching a three-run homer in Saturday's 5-4 victory in Oakland. He then hit the game-winning blast in the 10th inning of an 8-7 win over the A's on Sunday and his three against the Dodgers gave him five home runs in an 11-at-bat stretch before he was walked twice and then retired in his final two at-bats Tuesday.
Cruz homered in his first two games for the Orioles last year, but didn't get his fifth home run until the 19th game of the season en route to his career high.
Cruz is tied for the second-most homers in the first eight games of a season by a Mariners player behind Ken Griffey Jr.'s six in 1997. Jim Presley (1985) and Michael Morse (2013) also hit five in the first eight games.
"He's pretty impressive the way he's been swinging," Cano said. "He's a big guy that's been in this situation before. Last year, he had a great year. Hopefully this year, he continues and helps us win some games."
It will certainly help if Cano heats up in the No. 3 spot in front of Cruz in the lineup. Cano entered the game batting just .138, but went 2-for-5 with the home run and a double to raise his early average to .176.
"Robbie is going to hit," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "Robbie is Robbie. He's got a great track record. He's the least of my worries."
Cano said he was glad to get on board with his first long ball of the season, but obviously the final result made that moot.
"It always feels good, but then you lose the game," he said. "So what else can you do? Just be ready for tomorrow."