Nelson Cruz joined an elite group on Friday night – with a bang.
Cruz crushed a three-run, 433-foot home run into the Mariners’ bullpen in the eighth inning of their 7-2 win over the Athletics for his 300th career longball.
Here’s a look at the historic homer, accompanied by an instant classic call by Rick Rizzs on the 710 ESPN Seattle broadcast.
It was a banner night for Cruz, who joined “Danny, Dave and Moore” before the game for an interview in Edgar’s Cantina (listen here), as he also had two singles and finished with five RBIs in the victory. The five RBIs are a season-high for Cruz, and he has now moved into the MLB lead in the category with 68.
Of Cruz’s 300 homers, 103 have been in a Mariners uniform – pretty remarkable considering he’s in just his third season with the team. He becomes the 10th active player in the majors to hit the 300-homer mark.
“It’s special,” Cruz said after the game. “I came a long way – not only what I did in baseball, from the minors, but where I come from, the Dominican. Never in my dreams thought about hitting 300 homers in the big leagues.”
The 36-year-old designated hitter has 16 homers on the year and will represent the Mariners along with Robinson Cano in the All-Star Game on Tuesday in Miami.
Cruz is now tied for 143rd all-time in home runs. He could pass a few notable former Mariners this season, too – Raul Ibanez (305), Richie Sexson (306), Edgar Martinez (309) and Jay Buhner (310).
By the way, the Mariners may be celebrating another player hitting the 300 milestone soon. Cano is sitting at 295.