Baseball fans in Seattle are pretty accustomed to seeing Nelson Cruz hit clutch home runs. On Saturday night, it was the whole world that witnessed his prodigious power.
Playing for his native Dominican Republic in an intense World Baseball Classic pool play game against the United States in Miami, the Mariners’ slugging designated hitter delivered a three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning off All-Star reliever Andrew Miller that turned a two-run deficit into a 6-5 advantage for the DR. It went on to win 7-5.
The line-drive shot came on an 0-2 pitch, hugging the line along left field and settling in the crowd just inside the foul pole. The homer sent the crowd into a frenzy and was the most exciting moment of a contest that had an atmosphere to rival even the most important MLB postseason contest.
Cruz went 1 for 3 in the game, while fellow Mariner Robinson Cano was 0 for 3 with a walk and a run scored. Jean Segura, another Mariners player on the DR roster, did not play.