Cruzin’

Former Blue Jay Jose Cruz Jr. always loved playing against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. In fact, the switch-hitting outfielder had a .301 career average against the D-Rays heading into the 2007 campaign, compared to a .247 overall mark in 10 major-league seasons. Cruz has more runs scored (47), doubles (20) and RBIs (55) against the Devil Rays than he does against any other team in baseball.
Cruz0814_1His 16 home runs, meanwhile, mark the second-most (20, Yankees) that he has compiled against any one team. Two of those long balls came in games two and three of a three-game series against the Devil Rays late in the 2001 season. That marked the start of a week in which Cruz managed to hit a home run in six straight games, setting a Blue Jays franchise record in the process.
In the first contest during that stretch (Sept. 29), Cruz went 1-for-4 with a fourth-inning solo homer. Somewhat ironically, the outfielder struck out in each of his other three plate appearances that day. Indeed, Cruz had a penchant for striking out during his time with the Blue Jays, and actually amassed a career-high 138 in 2001. However, he wouldn’t strike out again during the six-game home run streak, while going 12-for-27 with 12 RBIs during that stretch.
In the third game of the streak, Cruz’s sixth-inning solo homer against the Orioles held up for a 1-0 Blue Jays win. After smacking a pair of two-run homers in each of the next two contests in Baltimore, Cruz put an exclamation mark on his long ball streak by delivering a grand slam in the opener of a doubleheader against the Cleveland Indians at SkyDome on Oct. 5.
There has been no shortage of home run hitters suit up for the Blue Jays during the club’s 30-year history — Carlos Delgado, Joe Carter, George Bell, Shawn Green, Jose Canseco and Vernon Wells, to name a few.
Still, none of them ever hit a home run in six straight contests. Jose Cruz Jr. did.

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