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Cruz control: All-Star hits homer No. 300

MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- Nelson Cruz gave credit to Jean Segura's walk-up music on Friday after the Mariners played their shortstop's tune for every batter who came to the plate following Segura's four-hit outing on Thursday.

But those who watched Seattle's clean-up hitter launch his 300th career home run in a 3-for-4 night with five RBIs on Friday, well they knew it was more than the "Que Fue" song by El Alfa that fueled the Mariners' 7-2 victory.

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SEATTLE -- Nelson Cruz gave credit to Jean Segura's walk-up music on Friday after the Mariners played their shortstop's tune for every batter who came to the plate following Segura's four-hit outing on Thursday.

But those who watched Seattle's clean-up hitter launch his 300th career home run in a 3-for-4 night with five RBIs on Friday, well they knew it was more than the "Que Fue" song by El Alfa that fueled the Mariners' 7-2 victory.

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"He's just a strong, strong guy," A's shortstop Marcus Semien said after watching Cruz's power display. "And he knows what he's doing."

What Cruz was doing Friday was helping end an eight-game Safeco Field losing streak by his club as he shook off a sore right knee to rip his 16th homer of the season and move into the Major League RBI lead with 68.

Video: OAK@SEA: Cruz notches five RBIs and 300th home run

In the process, he became just the 10th active player with 300 career homers, joining Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Beltre, Carlos Beltran, Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, Matt Holliday, Adrian Gonzalez and Curtis Granderson.

"It's special," Cruz acknowledged. "I've come a long way. Not only what I did in baseball, but in the Minors and where I came from in the Dominican. Never in my dreams did I think about hitting 300 homers in the big leagues."

Cruz, who is headed to his fifth All-Star Game next Tuesday in Miami, has hit 143 homers in his last 3 1/2 seasons, the most in the Majors since 2014. And 103 of those have come since he signed with Seattle in 2015 on a four-year, $56 million deal.

"I've known Nelson a long time and there's a lot of people in this game that bet that Nelson Cruz would never hit 300 home runs," said Mariners manager Scott Servais, who was the Rangers player personnel director when Cruz was coming up. "He proved a lot of people wrong and we've been the beneficiary here in Seattle of seeing a bunch of them recently.

"He was in a drought for a while. He went 20-some games [24 games] without hitting one. But the sluggers, they usually come in bunches. And he's in a good groove. He's seeing the ball good right now, he's staying behind the ball and it's great. We needed him and our big guys to step up tonight and they certainly did."

Cruz ripped two RBI singles in his first two at-bats and his first one had a 116.2-mph exit velocity, the hardest-hit ball by a Mariner this season. His homer came on a 113.6-mph blast that carried 433 feet and he also laced a 108.7-mph single in the third, joining Yoenis Cespedes and Jose Abreu as the only players in the Majors with three hits of 108-mph plus exit velocity this season.

Video: OAK@SEA: Cruz picks up his second RBI of the night

"Those were really hard hit," Servais said. "The home run was a rocket. He's got that kind of ability and when he gets locked in, he's really fun to watch."

As for the walk-up music? Cruz said the idea came up in the hitter's meeting prior to the game, with everyone wanting Segura's hot streak to catch on. And, yeah, Cruz said it's a tradition that might be extended after Friday's success.

Servais isn't so sure.

"All night long," he said, shaking his head. "I'm going to be hearing that song in my sleep."

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

Seattle Mariners, Nelson Cruz