Mariners go on Cruz control vs. Blue Jays

Designated hitter homers twice, drives in seven runs

Mariners go on Cruz control vs. Blue Jays

TORONTO -- With hitting coach Edgar Martinez away in Cooperstown for Ken Griffey Jr.'s Hall of Fame induction, Nelson Cruz joked the Mariners wanted to show the coach how much he was missed.

Seattle hitters combined to match a season-high 19 hits on Saturday, and Cruz led the way with seven RBIs and a pair of home runs, as the Mariners thumped the Blue Jays 14-5.

Cruz got the offense started in the third inning. With the Mariners trailing 1-0, and the bases loaded, Cruz took Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey's 1-2 knuckleball yard for his ninth career grand slam and 24th home run of the season.

"Just hope you can hit it, I guess. I mean you see the catcher having trouble to catch it. It's not easy," Cruz said of facing Dickey. "Sometimes I don't think he knows where the ball is going. Try to put the ball in play and hope for the best."

Then in the eighth, Cruz took Drew Storen's 2-1 fastball yard for a three-run home run. Saturday marked Cruz's 20th career multi-homer game.

Cruz's second home run

It's the fourth time in his career he's collected at least seven RBIs. The 36-year-old now has three games against Toronto with seven or more RBIs.

"I guess [I like it]. Nothing in particular," Cruz said of his success vs. the Blue Jays. "I think it's a great ballpark, great hitter's ballpark, so I guess you feel more comfortable.

"I don't remember the last time I had that many runners on base. It's always nice to have that chance to deliver in that situation."

Left-fielder Norichika Aoki finished 3-for-6 in the win while second baseman Robinson Cano went 3-for-4 as the Mariners won for the fourth time in five games and extended their win streak against the American League East to six games.

"We got some big hits. Cruz with the grand slam and we kind of got the line moving after that," manager Scott Servais said. "We got a bunch of ground ball base hits through the holes and it was a good offensive day for us. We have days like that and we don't kind of capitalize and continue to add on. Today we did, which was great to see."

Dhiren Mahiban is a contributor to based in Toronto. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.