Texas Rangers (4-6) at Seattle Mariners (3-6), 10:10 p.m. (ET)

(SportsNetwork.com) – The Seattle Mariners have been one of the bigger
disappointments in baseball in the early going. However, they can’t pin the
blame on slugger Nelson Cruz.

Cruz tries to homer in a sixth straight game on Friday when Seattle opens a
three-game series with the Texas Rangers at Safeco Field.

Signed to a 4-year, $57 million deal this offseason, Cruz has stroked six home
runs in his last five games, but it didn’t help the Mariners this week, as
they were swept in a three-game set by the Los Angeles Dodgers and have
dropped six of nine to open the year.

Of course, Ken Griffey Jr. tied an MLB record for Seattle in 1993 when he
homered in eight straight games.

“He’s swinging the bat extremely well,” Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said.
“He’s slowing down, letting the ball travel, he’s using the entire field to
hit. He’s doing a great job for us.”

However, Cruz, who was with the Rangers from 2007-13, is still looking for his
first home run at Safeco.

Left-hander J.A. Happ certainly hopes Cruz continues to swing a hot bat, as he
aims to follow up a solid season debut. Happ allowed just two runs and seven
hits over 6 1/3 innings in Oakland, but did not factor in the decision of his
team’s 5-4 win.

Texas, meanwhile, will hand the ball to righty Yovani Gallardo, who served up
two home runs to Cruz last season while pitching for Milwaukee.

Gallardo picked up his first win with the Rangers on Saturday, as he held the
Houston Astros to a pair of runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. He had been
battered by the A’s to the tune of four runs in four innings on Opening Day.

Texas fell for the third time in four tries on Wednesday, as it dropped a 10-2
decision to the Los Angeles Angels.

Anthony Ranaudo (0-1) had a quick and painful Rangers debut. The offseason
acquisition from the Red Sox did not make it out of the second inning and was
charged with six runs on six hits.

“I don’t know if there were too many things that were consistent today for
me,” Ranaudo said.

Texas was 10-9 versus the Mariners last season.