Shohei Ohtani made Major League Baseball history on Thurday when he became the first Japanese born player to hit for the cycle when he accomplished the feat against the Tampa Bay Rays in the Angels’ 5-3 win.
The baseball world would not have to wait long for its next cycle when Cleveland Indians first baseman Jake Bauers hit for the cycle on Friday against the Detroit Tigers.
Bauers began his historic night in the second inning with a line drive double to right field, to score Jason Kipnis and give Cleveland their first run of the game. In the fourth, Bauers hit a check swing chopper that forced pitcher Ryan Carpenter to make a play and after an offline throw, Bauers had two of the four hits he needed.
Bauers completed the most difficult part of the cycle in the fifth inning when he ripped a ball to deep left-center field off of reliever Buck Farmer. By the time the ball was tracked down and returned to the infield, Bauers had his first triple of the year.
Needing a home run for the cycle, the 23-year-old came to the plate in the eighth inning with Cleveland up 11-3 and with a runner on first, Bauers tattooed a pitch from Blaine Hardy to right field to give Cleveland the 13-3 lead and Bauers the first cycle of his young career. The tribe would win 13-4 in an absolute blowout.
Bauers became the first Cleveland Indian to hit for the cycle since Rajai Davis accomplished the feat in 2016. Bauers joins Jorge Polanco and, of course, Shohei Ohtani as the only players to hit for the cycle in 2019. Interestingly enough, the 326th and 327th cycles in MLB history came on back-to-back days.
Bauers has struggled at the plate this season hitting a dismal .209/.294/.396 in his first 63 games of the year. After seeking guidance form his teammates and his manager Terry Francona, the result was a historic night.
Prior to the game, Bauers, in desperate need of getting out of a slump that has limited him to just a .209 batting average, had a long talk with Francona and the results of the conversation were evident Friday night.
“I have a responsibility to try to help, but he’s responsible for what happened, and I’m proud of him,” Francona said. “We talked for a long time, but he’s the one that did it.”
Before heading to the plate in the eighth inning, he had a conversation with teammate Shane Bieber, who clearly knew exactly what was going on.
“I told him, ‘I don’t know, man, I think I’m just going to try and stay left-center, hit a base hit where the shortstop should be,”’ Bauers said. “He’s like, ‘Dude, you’ve got to try and hit a homer.”’
The win brought Cleveland to a 35-33 record overall. The Indians trail the white-hot Minnesota Twins by 10.5 games and are fighting to stay in the race for a playoff spot. Cleveland is just one game shy of the American League second Wild Card spot.