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Mariners’ Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz keeping a good thing going from the All-Star Game

Robinson Cano hit his 18th home run of the season to lead the M's to victory. (AP)

CHICAGO – If you see a little more gum chomping in the Mariners’ dugout, there is good reason for it. There are home runs in that gum, at least that is what Robinson Cano discovered Tuesday in Miami.

“I gave him I think the lucky gum so we could score some runs and I think it was enough for him to hit a homer,” Nelson Cruz explained Friday afternoon before the Mariners’ series opener against the White Sox.

Cano’s 10th-inning homer Tuesday gave the American League the win in the All-Star Game. The gum is readily available in dugouts, but Cruz didn’t give it up easily.

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“This guy,” Cano said with a laugh. “I asked him for four bubblegums and he gave me two and I said how much it cost you? So he gave me two more. He said, ‘I will give you two more so you can hit a home run.'”

Will hit for gum?

“Well, he gave me two more today,” Cano admitted.

Cruz will probably do so again on Saturday as Cano hit his 18th home run of of the season in the third inning Friday night, giving the Mariners an early 3-1 lead in their 4-2 win over the White Sox. The ball traveled 391 feet, just enough to scrape the top of the wall in right field.

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“I knew I hit it good,” Cano said. “Maybe I left my power at the All-Star game. I’m just kidding.”

The power is still there and it gave the Mariners what they needed in addition to the strong start from James Paxton and stellar work from the pen. Paxton, Tony Zych, Nick Vincent and Edwin Diaz combined to strikeout 15 while not allowing a walk. A very much needed good start to the second half.

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