It’s not every day you see an MLB player hit for the cycle; in the entire history of professional baseball, there have been just 311 in 135 years. This season, however, we’ve already seen four cycles, more than all of last year; in fact, you’d have to go back to 2009 to find the last season with more than four cycles hit, and after Nolan Arenado hit for his in style on Sunday, we may have even more to come in 2017.
With one swing of the bat, Arenado completed the feat–which entails hitting a single, double, triple, and homer in one game–with a walk off 3-run dinger, giving the Colorado Rockies a 7-5 win over the San Francisco Giants. The 26-year-old Cuban-American third baseman hit the first pitch he saw from All-Star closer Mark Melancon into the left-field seats to cap a four-game sweep of the Giants. The slugger was mobbed at home plate by all of his teammates, with a frenetic sellout crowd showering him in MVP chants.
Arenado was understandably excited. “It’s probably one of the best moments in my career,” the third-baseman said. “I’ve hit some big homers, but by far the best, obviously, for the cycle. I’ve never done it. I feel like I’ve been kind of close, but I’ve always needed a triple and I ain’t getting that. Today is a great day.”
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the potential all-star became just the fifth player in major league history to complete the cycle by hitting a walk-off home run. The last to accomplish the feat was actually his teammate Carlos Gonzalez, who did it against the Chicago Cubs on July 31, 2010.
“I remember watching Carlos do that,” Arenado said. “Now I know how he feels.”
Giants closer Melancon retired his first batter, but three singles added up to a run and brought Arenado to the plate, who had already tripled in the first inning, singled in the fourth, and had an RBI double in the sixth. The budding star connected on a 91-mph fastball for his 15th homer and first career cycle.
“I was ready first pitch and I was just trying to get the ball to the outfield, really,” Arenado said. “Luckily, I got a pitch middle-in and I was able to do some damage with it.” It was his second walk-off home run in the majors, and the eighth cycle in club history.
With the best record in the National League and the second best in the MLB, the surprising Rockies (46-26) are 20 games above .500 for the first time since 2009. They have won five straight, and nine in a row against the Giants. In other words, the Rockies are going to make some noise this year, and Arenado sees people taking notice: “The fans and the people of Denver are starting to get a hint that we’re for real.”