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Cruz sets O's mark with 52 RBIs before May's end

Outfielder plates three runs Saturday, including MLB-leading 20th homer

HOUSTON -- Red-hot Nelson Cruz just keeps getting better. His three RBIs in the Orioles' 4-1 win over the Astros on Saturday gave the outfielder a club record 52 RBIs before the end of May.

The previous record was set last season by Chris Davis, who had 50.

Cruz tied Davis when he plated Nick Markakis with a sac fly in the first inning. He broke the record without swinging the bat when he took a bases-loaded walk in the fifth. And he hit his MLB-leading 20th homer in the eighth for No. 52.

"Nelson is letting the ball travel, letting it get deep," manager Buck Showalter said. "He's got the reputation as streaky; I don't think I've ever seen him this locked in for this period of time. Lot of guys at his age [he turns 34 on July 1] kind of start figuring out who they are and learning from their mistakes through the years, in more ways than one."

Signed to a one-year deal this offseason, Cruz has a 12-game hitting streak and is batting .476 over that stretch. He has driven in six of the Orioles' last nine runs and has five homers in his last seven games.

"Just tried to go wherever the ball is," said Cruz. "If it's inside, try to turn on wherever it is. I'm in the zone right now. I can see the ball well enough, stay long enough, pull the ball."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli.
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