Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Cruz in All-Star form with 2 HRs, but Seattle falls

Slugger belts longest homer by a Mariner in '18 with 465-foot blast
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

BOSTON -- Nelson Cruz hit the longest homer by a Mariner this season in the first inning Friday night at Fenway Park. Then for good measure, he hit another clear out of the stadium.

VOTE Cruz on 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot

View Full Game Coverage

BOSTON -- Nelson Cruz hit the longest homer by a Mariner this season in the first inning Friday night at Fenway Park. Then for good measure, he hit another clear out of the stadium.

VOTE Cruz on 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot

View Full Game Coverage

But Cruz's four-hit, seven-RBI night wasn't enough to save Seattle from its fifth consecutive loss as the Red Sox rallied from a five-run deficit for a 14-10 victory in a wild series opener.

"That was a tough one," said Cruz. "It's a shame because our pitchers have been doing a really good job. But it happens. It's part of the game."

It was the second time the Mariners have blown a five-run lead on this East Coast road trip, which started with a three-game sweep at the hands of the Yankees and now has gotten off to an ill-fated start against Boston's big bats. Seattle fell to 46-30 with the loss, while Boston remained second to the Yankees in the AL East at 51-26.

"We've got to get it turned back around," said Mariners manager Scott Servais. "We had a lot of momentum going, but this trip has not gone well, obviously. We did do some positive things offensively, but locking down wins on the road is not easy to do. We've certainly got guys capable of doing it. We have to get back on the right track. Tonight was a ballgame we no doubt should have won."

Cruz went 4-for-5 with seven RBIs, including two home runs that combined for 908 feet, per Statcast™. Cruz's first homer was a 465-footer off a light tower above the Green Monster in left-center field, a three-run shot to give Seattle the early lead in a four-run first off knuckleballer Steven Wright.

Video: SEA@BOS: Cruz crushes a 3-run homer to left-center

After the Red Sox answered with five runs in the bottom of the first off Wade LeBlanc, Cruz tallied his second go-ahead hit of the night in the second inning with an RBI single for a 6-5 lead. Then the 37-year-old slugger jolted one last Wright pitch out of the stadium in left field with his second three-run homer, a projected 443-foot blast in the fourth.

Cruz's seven RBIs in a game were one shy of the club record of eight set by Alvin Davis in 1986, Mike Blowers in '95 and Mike Cameron in '01. Cruz's career high for RBIs in a game is also eight, done twice while with Texas.

After a slow start this year, Cruz has hit .349 with 12 homers and 26 RBIs over his last 23 games to hike his season totals to .266 with 20 homers and 48 RBIs.

"I've been playing healthy for a few weeks now," Cruz said. "I think that's the difference. For me, it's just getting to be out there and play a lot of games, and the timing will come."

Video: SEA@BOS: Cruz knocks an RBI single into right-center

Just six days after Wright and LeBlanc combined to allow just one run on seven hits over 14 2/3 innings in a 1-0 Mariners win at Safeco Field, the two allowed 21 hits and 16 runs in a combined eight innings.

The Red Sox took a far-more aggressive approach against LeBlanc in this one, and it paid off with 11 hits and six runs in 4 2/3 innings.

"They weren't waiting around," said LeBlanc, who saw his ERA jump from 2.63 to 3.26. "That's a really good lineup over there, and it's not easy to face any Major League lineup two games in a row, especially one that is as deep as that one. To add on top of that, the lack of execution on my part was not ideal."

LeBlanc departed with a 10-6 advantage with two out in the fifth, but the Red Sox tallied three runs off James Pazos and Nick Vincent in the sixth, then regained the lead with five runs off Juan Nicasio in the seventh.

Video: SEA@BOS: Healy belts a solo homer to left field

Cruz wasn't the only one cranking long balls as Ryon Healy belted a prodigious solo shot of his own, projected at 441 feet, as part of the four-run first inning. But the Red Sox more than made up for that with J.D. Martinez leading a 20-hit attack as he went 4-for-5 with two doubles, a home run and five RBIs.

SOUND SMART
• Cruz became just the sixth MLB player since 1920 (when the RBI became an official statistic) to record at least five games with seven-plus runs batted in. And it's an impressive list as he joins Lou Gehrig (9 games), Ted Williams (6), Joe DiMaggio (5), Jimmie Foxx (5) and Alex Rodriguez (5).

• Seattle has had seven homers of 465 feet or more since Statcast™ began in 2015, and six of those are by Cruz, with Mike Zunino the only other Mariner cracking that list with a 470-footer last season. Cruz now has 13 of the Mariners' 20 longest long balls since '15.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Yeah, Cruz's first-inning blast was the longest projected shot of the day as Statcast™ figured it would have flown 465 feet if not for colliding with the light pole in left field. But his fourth-inning launch was even more impressive looking, as it's tough to beat seeing a ball sail clear out of a stadium. That ball was pulled more down the line than the center-field shot in the first, and Statcast™'s projection was "only" 443 feet. The only other MLB player with two homers of 440-plus feet in a game this year is Boston's Mookie Betts, who did so on May 2.

Video: SEA@BOS: Cruz crushes 2 homers at a total of 908 feet

HE SAID IT
"We have to go out and take the bull by the horns and really get after it and stay on the attack against them. Especially at this ballpark, the momentum starts to turn, and they feed off that momentum." -- Servais, on his team's bullpen struggles

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Andrew Romine raced home from second on a single by Mitch Haniger to tie the game at 5 in the second, sliding under the tag of catcher Christian Vazquez. The Red Sox challenged the ruling, but the call stood after review.

Video: SEA@BOS: Romine beats the tag at home as call stands

UP NEXT
Mike Leake (7-4, 4.47 ERA) faces off against Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez (9-1, 3.59) for the second time this week in Saturday's 4:15 p.m. PT game, which is a regional FOX-TV broadcast. Leake is 4-1 with a 3.17 ERA over his last eight starts, but the one loss came on Sunday against Rodriguez and the Red Sox when Leake allowed five runs in six innings in a 9-3 setback in Seattle. Leake is 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA in five career starts vs. Boston.

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

Seattle Mariners, Nelson Cruz