<
>

Cruz knocks in eight runs on six pitches

Things went according to form Friday night around the majors: The sport’s top four teams all won, the Mariners lost and Albert Pujols hit Paul Maholm hard.

However, the night’s top performance was in Texas, where Nelson Cruz put on a show. Cruz collected eight RBI on a 4-for-4 night with a home run. What made the effort even more remarkable was that he saw only six pitches in the game!

Nelson Cruz

Cruz

Cruz is the first player in the Live Ball Era (since 1920) to record exactly one run, 8 RBI and four hits in four at-bats.

Cruz is also the first player to knock in eight runs without recording an out since Vladimir Guerrero on June 2, 2004. He is the second player to knock in at least eight runs in a game this season (Ben Zobrist) and Cruz is the first Ranger to do so since Ivan Rodriguez on April 13, 1999.

Cruz’s home run Friday (No. 22) came off the slider, his sixth home run of the year off that pitch. That total is tied for second in the majors, trailing only Jose Bautista’s seven.

In Boston, the Red Sox held on to their two-game division lead with a 7-4 win over Felix Hernandez and the Mariners. The setback extended Seattle’s losing streak to 13 games, the franchise’s second-longest slide in its history. The 1992 Mariners lost 14 straight.

In Philadelphia, the Phillies rode Cole Hamels to a 3-1 win over the Padres. San Diego hitters were 0-8 in at-bats ending with a Hamels changeup, and the pitch was responsible for five of his strikeouts. Hamels got 14 swings and misses with the change, his most in a game since September 2009.

Albert Pujols

PujolsThe St. Louis Cardinals picked up a 6-4 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates to jump into a virtual tie for second place with the Bucs, one game behind the Milwaukee Brewers (who defeated the Giants, 4-2, in San Francisco). Albert Pujols went 4-for-5 in the victory, with a first-inning home run off Paul Maholm. Pujols is now 21-36 (.583) against Maholm in his career.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that is the second-best average among active pitcher/hitter matchups (min. 30 AB).