Nelson Cruz hit two more homers to extend his major league lead to 13

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Nelson Cruz led baseball with 40 home runs last season and parlayed that into a four-year, $57 million contract with the Mariners during the offseason. As he had crossed the 30-homer threshold just once in his career, some felt it was a fluke showing from Cruz.

Cruz hit home runs in five consecutive games between April 11-15 and entered Saturday’s game against the Astros with the major league lead in home runs at 11 (and RBI with 23). He stretched his lead to 13, as he hit a pair of round-trippers off of Astros starter Collin McHugh. The first came in the second inning, the first of three solo home runs the Mariners hit in the inning to jump out to a 3-0 lead. The second came in the sixth inning to reduce the Mariners’ deficit to 9-4.

The two-homer game is Cruz’s third multi-homer game of the season, and he has now hit four home runs in his last four games. Along with the 13 home runs and 25 RBI, Cruz is batting a ridiculous .340/.386/.809. Hanley Ramirez is the only other major leaguer with double digits in home runs at 10. Behind him, Adrian Gonzalez, Todd Frazier, and Mark Teixeira are tied at eight apiece.

The first of his two dingers:

[mlbvideo id=”98620383″ width=”600″ height=”336″ /]

Oakland Athletics reverse course, will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.