Nelson Cruz had a homer drought for about a month, but he has snapped out it, and the Seattle designated hitter has shown why he belongs on the American League All-Star team.
Cruz went 3-for-5 with five RBIs as Seattle beat Oakland 7-2 Friday at Safeco Field. The Mariners snapped an eight-game home losing streak.
James Paxton gave up only two hits and two runs — on a third-inning two-run double by Marcus Semien — while striking out nine and walking three in seven innings pitched. Three relievers held the Athletics scoreless, and the visitors finished with only three hits.
Danny Valencia also had three hits and he and Robinson Cano scored two runs each for the Mariners (42-46).
Cruz put Seattle ahead with a first-inning single off starter Sean Manaea. Semien's double briefly put the Athletics (38-49) ahead in the third inning, but the Mariners responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning off reliever Liam Hendriks, on a Cruz RBI single and a Kyle Seager sacrifice fly.
Cruz hit a three-run homer, his 16th this season and 300th of his career, in the eighth inning, and Seager followed later with another sacrifice fly.
The five RBIs gave Cruz 68, two ahead of Aaron Judge for the American League lead.
The teams play at 7 p.m. Saturday, with Andrew Moore (1-1, 3.60) pitching for Seattle opposite Chris Smith (0-0, 0.00).