On Tuesday, Cruz went 2-for-3 with a double, a homer and two runs scored as the O's were edged out by the Milwaukee Brewers, 7-6, at Miller Park. The right-handed-hitting Cruz was also issued a free pass in the loss. On Wednesday, the 33-year-old slugger launched a pair of solo homers, his second two-homer game of the season (also April 23rd at Toronto) and the 12th of his 10-year career as Baltimore fell to the Brewers, 8-3. It was the fifth time this season that Cruz launched blasts in back-to-back games. Moving onto Houston on Thursday, the Dominican Republic native continued to swing a hot bat for the Orioles with his third consecutive two-hit game, but the Houston pitching staff kept the Orioles in check as the Astros won, 3-1, at Minute Maid Park. On Saturday, the two-time A.L. All-Star went 2-for-2 with a double, a homer, a walk and three RBI to lead the Orioles to a 4-1 victory over Houston, snapping a four-game losing skid for Baltimore and extending his season-long hitting streak to 12 games (snapped on Sunday). Over the string, Cruz batted .476 (20-for-42) with six doubles, eight homers, 15 RBI and 14 runs scored.
Cruz has started off his first season with the Orioles in stellar fashion, leading the Majors in slugging percentage (.672), total bases (137), homers (20), RBI (52) and fewest at-bats per home run (10.2), and he is second overall with 33 extra-base hits. Cruz, who leads A.L. designated hitters in All-Star balloting for the 85th All-Star Game, is fifth in the league with 39 runs scored, sixth with a .384 on-base percentage and seventh with a .314 batting average. At the start of the season, Cruz became just the fifth Oriole to homer in his first two games with the Club, and in addition set new Baltimore records for RBI through the month of May (52) and home runs during the month of May (13). Cruz's power display has helped him reach the 20-homer plateau for the sixth straight campaign.
Other noteworthy performances in the A.L. last week included Oakland's Josh Donaldson (.393, 4 HR, 12 RBI) and Scott Kazmir (CG on 5/28 vs. DET); Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion (.417, 5 HR, 10 RBI) and Mark Buehrle (2-0, 1.84 ERA, 6 SO); Seattle's Roenis Elias (first-career SHO on 6/1 vs. Detroit) and Chris Young (2-0, 2.19 ERA, 11 SO); and Chicago's Chris Sale (CG on 6/1 vs. San Diego).
In recognition of his American League Player of the Week Award, Nelson Cruz will be awarded a watch courtesy of Game Time, the leader in licensed sports watches, available at MLB.com.