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If trend holds, Nelson Cruz could get hot

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Nelson Cruz was back to mashing the baseball in Monday night's 9-2 mauling of Seattle. He crushed a homer to left, had a double until his foot slid past second base, actually did double with a towering shot to the wall and walked -- finishing a triple short of the cycle.

This destruction comes on the heels of an 0-for-the-Indians and an 0-for-15 skid overall. That awful stretch followed an amazing display of hitting in which he raised his average from .239 on July 20 to .269 on Aug. 4. Of course, to get all the way down to .239, Cruz picked up just eight hits in 12 games from July 5, when he was batting .252, to July 20.

That skid earned Cruz a seat on the bench for the middle game of the last series in Anaheim.

Cruz, who hit .318 a year ago, and is now at .265 -- but, is on pace to set career-highs for home runs and RBIs -- is a streaky hitter, there's no doubt about that. While his hot streaks can be mesmerizing, including an eight-RBI game last month against Toronto, his cold snaps have been equally confounding.

"When's he not hitting he's not using the middle part of the field," manager Ron Washington said. "When he's swinging the bat well, he's in the big part of the field. That's something that he has to; when he steps in that box that's something he has to take upon himself to make sure that he does. Sometimes he just wants to do get it done so bad that he forgets about the things that make him successful, consistently. Last year, consistently, he hit .300, stayed in the middle of the field a lot. He has to just keep making adjustments."

Cruz chuckled when asked about his hot-to-cold hitting that has seen his average dip to as low as .202 in late May. He said he's not worried that the consistency that defined him in 2010 has not been there in 2011.

"I don't worry about that stuff," Cruz said after Monday's big game. "The hits are going to come and the numbers are going to be there in the end, so I worry about W's. That's the main thing."