Melky Cabrera hit his fourth-consecutive home run to overtake his record from the whole of the 2013 season in last night’s 5-2 victory for the Toronto Blue Jays over Houston Astros.
The 29-year-old is now just two behind equalling Jose Cruz Jr.'s record of consecutive home runs for the Blue Jays who resume their series against the Astros tonight.
Cabrera, a World Series champion with the New York Yankees in 2009, has surprised his critics who thought the outfielder was starting to show his age.
Speaking to MLB.com, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said: “You know what, I thought when we signed him last year he had a chance to hit some home runs here. He’s hit them before, he’s not know as a home run hitter but it’s a perfect place for it.”
Cabrera was signed as a free agent ahead of the 2013 season and big things were expected of the Dominican after a tough few years with spells at Atlanta, Kansas City and San Francisco after his World Series triumph with the Yankees.
The Blue Jays signed the Dominican outfielder to complement Jose Reyes at the start of the batting line-up. But Reyes spent the season out injured after hurting his ankle just two weeks into last season and Cabrera was struggling to find form.
The mystery surrounding Cabrera's lack of form was solved when the Blue Jays’ medical team found a benign tumour on his spine. According to MLB.com, the detection of the tumour could have been life-saving after he had surgery last September.
With a fit Cabrera back in the batting line-up Toronto have made a solid but unspectacular start to the season with 4-4. Their outfielder has hit at .314 with five RBIs in his opening eight matches but the Blue Jays are without Reyes again through injury.
“Last year the tumour in my back didn’t allow me to play as good as I could,” Cabrera explained. “I feel 100 percent now and I’m ready to go. I’m good and I don’t have any pain now.”
What is outstanding for Cabrera is his home runs. With four already this season he has beaten his record for the whole of 2013 and his best season homers is only 18.
The Blue Jays were breathing a sigh of relief after Cabrera’s return to form led them to last night’s win over Houston.
With Toronto leading 3-2 thanks to a Jose Bautista homer and two RBI doubles by Dioner Navarro, Cabrera produced the hit which sent his side on their way. Cabrera’s hit over the wall in the left field from a hanging slider by pitcher Kevin Chapman maintained his push to break Cruz Jr's record for the Blue Jays.
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