Cruz launches upper-deck shot for 10th blast
Seattle slugger's homer measured at 483 feet by Statcast
ARLINGTON -- Nelson Cruz waited for the final game of the Mariners series against his former Texas team to launch a home run, but the big man made it memorable with a prodigious blast in Wednesday's 5-2 victory that was measured at 483 feet by MLB's Statcast, which would be the longest homer in the Majors this season.
Cruz launched his 10th long ball of the season leading off the second inning against Rangers lefty Wandy Rodriguez. The solo shot came to rest in the "club level" in left field at Globe Life Park, just the 19th time in the stadium's 22 years that a ball has reached that area.
Three of those second-deck shots have come from Cruz, who played for the Rangers from 2006-13. Juan Gonzalez is the all-time leader with four such blasts.
"Boomstick equals Boomstick," said teammate Logan Morrison. "That guy is really impressive. Not only the power, but the consistency of the at-bats. He's special. I'm glad he's on our team."
Statcast recorded the ball's velocity at 116 mph coming off Cruz's bat. The 483-foot measurement beat Josh Donaldson's previous long this year of 481, according to at-bats Statcast has measured.
"My God, I'm glad he's on our side now," said Felix Hernandez, who picked up the win to improve to 4-0 on the year. "Wow. That was unbelievable. He's a strong guy."
Cruz attempted to downplay the blast in his former home park against the team he helped get to two World Series.
"It was just another homer," he said. "Good to get the lead to Felix, you know, and just get on the board. It was nice."
But when pressed, he allowed that it was one of his better-struck balls.
"I hit it pretty good, yeah," he said with a grin. "I haven't seen that [into that area of the second deck]. I've seen it like in the corner, down the line. I hit one in 2009 just a little bit to the right."
After going four games without a long ball, Cruz now has the third-most home runs in the first month of a season by a Mariners player, behind only the 13 of Ken Griffey Jr. in 1997 and 11 by Griffey in 1998.
Cruz went 2-for-4 with a walk and is hitting .337 through his first 21 games with his new club, tied for the Major League lead with Hanley Ramirez of the Red Sox in both home runs and RBIs (22). That hot start means all the more for the 34-year-old when it helps his club win games, as they did in sweeping the Rangers to improve to 10-11.
"I think a day like today is special when you hit a homer and win the game," Cruz said. "That's when it definitely matters the most."
Cruz has exceeded his own previous home run best for the month of April of seven set in 2010 and '11 when he was with the Rangers. He finished March and April with seven home runs last season for the Orioles, when he went on to lead the Majors with 40 for the year.