Cuddyer hits for 10th Twins cycle
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- When Michael Cuddyer hit a broken-bat liner down the third-base line in the sixth inning Friday night, he started pumping his legs.
Having hit a three-run homer in the first inning, a double in the third and a single in the fourth in Minnesota's 11-3 win over Milwaukee, Cuddyer knew he was a triple away from hitting for the cycle.
When he rounded second, Cuddyer saw that left fielder Ryan Braun hadn't gotten to the ball bouncing around in the corner.
So, he ran harder.
"If he had the ball, I was going to stop," Cuddyer said. "But he wasn't even close."
Cuddyer slid safely into third to finish off the cycle, match his career high with five RBIs and become part of a rare teammate duo to record cycles in the same season. He became the 10th Minnesota player to hit for the cycle, joining Jason Kubel in accomplishing the feat this season.
"I guess it was in the cards for me," said Cuddyer, who was given the ball from the triple. "A broken bat down the left-field line to complete the cycle is not something you see everyday."
Nor is seeing two cycles on the same team in the same season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Minnesota duo is only the second to hit to accomplish it in the last decade.
The last teammates to hit for the cycle in the same season were Vladimir Guerrero and Brad Wilkerson, who did it for the Montreal Expos in 2003. Larry Hisle and Lyman Bostock were the only other Twins teammates to hit for the cycle in the same season, accomplishing the feat in 1976.
Kubel joked that neither he nor Cuddyer are the most likely candidates on the Twins for a cycle.
"If someone would have said we'd both do it in the same year, I'd would been, like, 'Yeah, right,"' Kubel said. "I'd believe it for him, but not for me."
Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said the way Cuddyer finished off the cycle was perfect.
"The triple was just part of him," Gardenhire said. "He busts his tail on every play, when he swings the bat, he runs out every play. He wouldn't have gotten to third base if he wasn't."
Along with hitting for the cycle, Cuddyer also homered for third consecutive game for the first time in his career. Cuddyer, who had only three homers and 36 RBIs in an injury-filled 2008, now has seven home runs and 30 RBIs.
"Yeah, it seemed like he was locked in, definitely," Brewers starter Manny Parra said. "Breaks a bat, gets a triple down the line. You know, it's just one of those nights. He didn't miss his pitches."
Nor did many of the Twins.
Cuddyer's 4-for-5 performance ensured that the Twins would be able to build on Thursday's 20-run performance in a victory over the Chicago White Sox. It also continued Minnesota's recent domination of the National League.
With the victory over the Brewers, the Twins are 42-13 in interleague play since the beginning of the 2006 season. Entering this weekend 5½ games behind Detroit in the AL Central, the Twins hope interleague play will again propel them toward the top of the division standings.
Already leading 5-0 after three innings, Minnesota broke the game open for good in the bottom of the fourth. That's when Justin Morneau hit a bases-loaded blast to dead center off Parra (3-5). Brewers center fielder Mike Cameron tried to make a play, but the ball bounced off the wall. Morneau ended up with a triple on the play, the Twins led 8-0 and Parra's night was over after only 3 1-3 innings.
Kevin Slowey (6-1) allowed only three runs -- two earned -- on eight hits in 7 1-3 innings for the Twins. Slowey entered with the best strikeout-to-walk ratio in the major leagues, and that didn't change against Milwaukee as he struck out four without a walk.
Notes: Friday was Brewers manager Ken Macha's first appearance at the Metrodome since he led Oakland to a sweep of the Twins in the 2006 ALDS. "The years I was with the A's, (Cuddyer) always swung the bat well against us," Macha said. "So he's probably happy to see me in the dugout. I don't know if he knows who I am." ... The broken bat used for Cuddyer's cycle was salvaged and will likely be shipped to the Baseball Hall of Fame. ... Right-hander Anthony Swarzak will start for the Twins and make his big league debut for the Twins on Saturday night. Swarzak, who had a 2.25 ERA in seven starts for Triple-A Rochester, was called up to replace the injured Glen Perkins.