Nelson Cruz hasn't hit as well in the month of June, but the Orioles designated hitter gave his club a much-needed jolt in Wednesday’s game against the Chicago White Sox.
After the Orioles were held scoreless for the first seven innings of the game, Cruz hit a grand slam with two outs in the eighth inning. He belted a 2-1 pitch from White Sox reliever Javy Guerra over the grounds crew shed in right-center field to tie the game at 4.
It was Cruz’s second grand slam this season -- he also hit one April 23 in Toronto -- and the eighth of his career.
Cruz’s slam, which came with the Orioles four outs away from their seventh shutout loss of the season, was his 24th homer of the season, tying him with Toronto’s Edwin Encarnacion for the major league lead. With the four RBIs, Cruz also passed Encarnacion to become the major league leader in that category with 64.
He also became the second player this season to belt a game-tying grand slam in the eighth inning or later, according to ESPN Stats and Info. Angels outfielder Mike Trout hit a game-tying grand slam in the eighth inning of a game against the White Sox on June 7.
The grand slam came after Cruz grounded into double plays in each of his previous two at-bats, the first player in franchise history to do that in the same game.
In Game 2 of a doubleheader played on April 27, 1969, Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson became the first Orioles player to ground into two double plays with at least one homer and four RBIs in the same game. On that night, Robinson his two homers and drove in four runs.
Cruz has hit just four homers in June after hitting 20 in the first two months of the season.