Pirates farmhands Kevin Newman, Jacob Stallings hit for cycle in same game
Indianapolis Indians catcher Jacob Stallings said he wasn’t thinking about hitting a triple and completing the cycle when he stepped to the plate in the eighth inning.
A triple was all that stood between Stallings, Indianapolis’ Kevin Newman and a historic bi-cycle (as MILB.com called it) Tuesday night when two teammates hit for the cycle in the same game. It’s the second time it’s happened in the minors this season — Gio Brusa and Jalen Miller of Single-A San Jose did it in April — but it’s never been done in the majors.
Maybe Stallings wasn’t trying to accomplish the rare feat at the outset, but when he swung the bat and saw the ball sail into the right-center gap, he was so excited he almost missed first base.
“I’m not the fastest guy in the world, so triples, I figure a couple guys have to fall down or something for me to get a triple,” Stallings told MILB.com. “I knew I hit the ball well, but it was kind of tailing back toward the right fielder (Ryan Goins of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs).
“He was running over, and once I saw he missed it, I actually almost missed first base. I barely touched first, but then when I got to second, he already had the ball and was throwing it in. I was like, ‘I’m going to get thrown out by 30 feet here, but I’ve got to at least try.’ I guess the guys said that they kind of fumbled the relay, and I’m glad I decided to go.”
That was his fourth hit of the night in five at-bats, but only the fifth triple of his seven-year career and first since 2015 when he played in Altoona. Newman, the Indians’ second baseman, homered earlier in the inning to complete his cycle. He was 5 for 5, including two doubles; Stallings was 4 for 5, grounding out to shortstop in the seventh inning.
“Our stadium (Victory Field) is a pretty big stadium, and when I was up there for the last at-bat, I hit that ball and I hit it pretty good,” Newman said. “I was just like, ‘Oh man, I think maybe I got it. Maybe I got it.’ I was going around first base and saw it go out and just immediately thought, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s the cycle. Holy cow.’ I immediately just got super pumped up. I was really fired up.”
The Indians won the game, 12-5, and Steven Brault, in his first appearance for the Indians since getting sent down by the Pirates on Friday, pitched a scoreless ninth inning.
Stallings and Newman are among the Indians’ best players. Newman, batting leadoff Tuesday, is hitting .306 with four home runs and 35 RBI. Stallings, who was the cleanup hitter, had only one previous homer this season, with 34 RBIs and a .290 average. He’s played in 16 games for the Pirates the past three seasons, with 13 hits (10 singles) and 42 at-bats.
How rare is it for just one player to hit for the cycle? Only 21 Pirates have done it 24 times since 1887. Nine Pirates have done it since 1950, including Hall of Famers Ralph Kiner in 1950 and Willie Stargell in 1964.
Jason Kendall (2000, Three Rivers Stadium) and John Jaso (most recently on Sept. 28, 2016 at PNC Park) are the only Pirates to do it at home since 1949.
Pirates teammates Kiki Cuyler and Hall of Famer Max Carey came close to what Stallings and Newman did when they hit for the cycle 16 days apart in 1925. Mickey Cochrane and Pinky Higgins did it four days apart for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1933.
And we can’t forget Oyster Burns of the Brooklyn Bridgegrooms and John Reilly of the Cincinnati Reds who hit for the cycle five days apart in 1890 against the Pittsburgh Alleghenys, the forerunner of the Pirates who lost a club-record 113 games that season.
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.