"Obviously, Cruz is swinging the bat great," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "He continues to carry us there."
Cruz has slugged four homers in his last three games, six in his last six and eight in his last 11. He's tied with Texas' Joey Gallo for the most homers in August with seven and he's hitting .432 with an OPS of 1.556 for the month.
No matter how you frame it, Cruz's recent stretch is impressive.
Not only is he scorching hot at the plate, he's getting healthier on the basepaths. He hustled to second on his two doubles and even tagged up from second to third on a fly ball to center field.
"It's nice to feel like I can run," Cruz said. "Get the extra base, tag and all that. Score. It feels good."
"He was busting it on the bases," Servais added.
Cruz came into August as one of baseball's hottest hitters, posting a 273 WRC+ in 36 plate appearances entering Friday's game, the fifth highest in baseball during that stretch.
His sterling performances have gone for naught lately. Edwin Diaz surrendered a three-run double to Mike Trout in the ninth inning on Thursday in a 6-3 loss and the Mariners' bullpen relinquished five unanswered runs in a 6-5 loss on Friday.
There's a strong argument to be made the Mariners wouldn't even be in situations to win without Cruz's offensive contributions.
"He's swinging the bat great," Servais said. "He fouled a ball off his foot, pretty sore, and hung in there with a great at-bat, getting a big hit. He can really carry you when he's swinging the bat well, and that's what he's doing right."
Josh Horton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.