BY SPNW Staff 12:41PM 04/20/2015

Mariners’ Cruz, HR leader, wins weekly award

After belting two homers and a walk-off single Sunday, Nelson Cruz was named AL Player of the Week, the fourth such honor of his career.

Nelson Cruz, with eight home runs in his past eight games, was named AL Player of the Week. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspres Northwest

The American League Monday named Mariners designated hitter/outfielder Nelson Cruz, who has eight home runs in his past eight games, as its Player of the Week for April 13-19. It is the first award for Cruz this season and the fourth of his career.

Cruz batted .500 (12×24), scored seven runs, had six homers, drove in 10 runs and had a 1.806 OPS in six games against the Dodgers and Rangers. He had a hit in each of the contests and reached base via hit or walk 15 times. He accumulated 30 total bases.

In Seattle’s 11-10 victory Sunday over the Rangers, Cruz hit a pair of home runs and provided the margin of victory with a walk-off single in the ninth inning. He leads MLB with eight homers, three more than the No. 2 hitters in either league.

The right-handed-hitting slugger also tied for T2 in the majors with seven runs, and T3 with 12 hits, while his .500 batting average was the third highest among qualifying AL hitters. He also ranked third in on-base percentage (.556) and produced four multi-hit games.

Cruz won the AL weekly award twice last year with Baltimore (June 2 and Sept. 8) and once with Texas (May 24, 2010).

For the season, he is hitting .354 (17×48) with nine runs, eight home runs, 14 RBIs, a .404 on-base percentage, an .854 slugging percentage and a 1.258 OPS in 12 games. He also has an eight-game hitting streak that has included all eight of his home runs.

Cruz is the first Mariner to win the weekly award since third baseman Kyle Seager June 29.

The Mariners open a three-game home stand Monday night at Safeco Field against the Houston Astros. Hisashi Iwakuma, off to a slow start at 0-1, 6.55, will start for Seattle against Asher Wojciechowski, 0-4, 4.50, who will be making his second major league start.


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