BY Adam Lewis 06:36PM 07/05/2015

Mariners’ Cruz to start for AL in All-Star Game

DH Nelson Cruz will start at designated hitter for the American League All-Star team for the second year in a row, Major League Baseball announced Sunday.

Nelson Cruz was selected by fans to the American League All-Star team. / Alan Chitlik, Sportspress Northwest

Nelson Cruz was named the American League All-Star team’s starting designated hitter Sunday after narrowly beating out former Mariner Kendrys Morales, now with the Royals, in an online vote conducted by fans.

The announcement came Sunday on ESPN after the Mariners edged the Athletics, 2-1.

This marks the second consecutive season the 35-year-old Cruz will start the All-Star Game for the AL after making it in 2014 with the Baltimore Orioles.

After signing a four-year, $58 million contract with the Mariners in December, Cruz has been the club’s best hitter, posting a .304/.364/.554 slash line with 21 home runs and 50 RBIs in 80 games.

Though he won’t participate in the Home Run Derby, this will mark Cruz’s fourth All-Star appearance after he was a reserve in 2009 and ’13 when he played for the Rangers. He was the starter at DH last season when he was with Baltimore.

This year’s 86th annual Midsummer Classic is July 14 is at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. The winner gets homefield advantage for the World Series.

Reserves and pitchers will be announced at 4 p.m. Monday (ESPN), then MLB has a Final Vote online contest that allows fans to vote in one more player for each league.

RHP Felix Hernandez (10-5, 3.02 ERA), despite a poor June (2-3, 5.51 ERA), could still be named the starter for the AL. He is expected, at the least, to be named to his sixth All-Star team.

That isn’t the case for 3B Kyle Seager, who was an All-Star for the first time last season, or six-time All-Star 2B Robinson Cano, who made the team the past five years. Both have had struggles in 2015, with Seager hitting .256 with 12 homers and 38 RBIs and Cano at .248 with five homers, 27 RBIs and a .652 OPS.

Manager Lloyd McClendon will serve as an assistant on Ned Yost’s AL staff.

Here’s a look at the voting results for the AL.

And for the National League:

Starting lineups:


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