Slugger follows with solo shot for 23rd multi-homer game of career
By Alex Simon
OAKLAND -- The A's have seen enough of Mariners slugger Nelson Cruz.
Cruz, also known as "Boomstick," bashed two homers at the Coliseum in Wednesday afternoon's 6-3 win over the A's, crushing a fastball to left-center for a two-run homer in the third and blasting a slider to center for a solo homer in the fifth to give him 26 on the year. It was Cruz's second two-homer game within a week after hitting two in Game 1 of Sunday's doubleheader win vs. Kansas City.
"I don't know if Nelson Cruz can hit two harder balls than he hit today," manager Scott Servais said. "I think the first one might've been the hardest home run he's hit."
According to Statcast™, Cruz's first homer of the day went 450 feet with an exit velocity of 115.1 mph. It was both his and the Mariners' second-hardest-hit homer since Statcast™ was introduced in 2015. Only his 115.9-mph blast on April 29, 2015, was hit harder. Cruz now has Seattle's four hardest-hit home runs since Statcast™ began tracking, as well as nine of the 10 hardest.
"That's probably the loudest ball I've heard hit on a field," third baseman Kyle Seager said, who watched the homer from the on-deck circle. "From where I was, it was a pop. ... It was incredible just how fast it got out, just how hard he hit it. It was pretty special."
In the fifth, Cruz hit A's starter Jharel Cotton's slider 436 feet to center field at 112.4 mph to give him his second multi-homer game of 2017 and the 23rd of his career.
"The first home run I was trying to go away, it just leaked over to the middle and he put a good swing on it," Cotton said. "He didn't miss the ones I didn't execute. The other one, cutter down trying to get a ground ball. He just hit it hard.
"He's having a great year, a great season, a great series against us. Right now, he's a hard out."
Cruz has destroyed the A's throughout his career, with 29 homers and 98 RBIs in 147 games against them. But he's really owned Oakland since joining Seattle, batting .369 (65-for-176) with 17 homers and 45 RBIs against the A's in three seasons, though Seager remembers what it was like facing Cruz before he joined the Mariners.
"I don't think it's just the A's," Seager said. "I remember playing against him and he used to do it to us, too. He's a lot of fun to watch, and you certainly want him on your team."
Cruz now has five straight seasons with at least 25 homers, and he has hit 113 homers in his three seasons with the Mariners. He also leads the American League with 88 RBIs.
"I feel 100 percent healthy, thank God," Cruz said. "Hopefully I stay like that."
Alex Simon is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter at @alexsimon99. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.