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Laird caps cycle with walk-off homer
05/26/2010 11:46 PM ET
Brandon Laird managed a unique double play Wednesday, providing a clutch moment to complete an historic feat.

Laird capped the second cycle in team history with a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning -- and overshadowed a three-homer night by Erie's Wilkin Ramirez -- as the Trenton Thunder stunned the SeaWolves, 7-6.

The younger brother of Tigers catcher Gerald Laird deposited a pitch from closer Luis Marte over the left-center field fence at Waterfront Park to set off a wild celebration at home plate. He became the first member of the Thunder to hit for the cycle since Shawn Garrett on April 28, 2007.

"It goes through your head, the cycle; it doesn't come around very often," said Laird, who leads the Eastern League with 43 RBIs. "I just wanted to put a good swing on the ball and hit a double to tie the game, but he left one over the plate and I put a good swing on it and it went over the fence."

Laird started his historic night by flying out to center in the first. But he singled in a run in the second, tripled in the fifth and doubled in the seventh.

Ironically, the former 27th-round pick might not gotten his shot at history were it not for Ramirez. His third homer of the night, a two-run blast in the eighth, helped Erie erase a 5-2 deficit. The SeaWolves grabbed the lead in the ninth on Andy Dirks' RBI single.

"I just wanted to stay with my approach and put good swings on the ball," Laird said. "I was running around the bases and thinking that I couldn't believe I hit for the cycle. I got the opportunity in the ninth to come up and do what I did for our team."

Laird overshadowed Ramirez, who has hit five of his Eastern League-leading 13 homers against the Thunder.

"He swung the bat great," Laird said. "Every time he faces us he hits the ball well. He's a strong kid."

Earlier this month, Ramirez homered twice and drove in five runs against Trenton. The 24-year-old outfielder also went deep in his first Major League game on May 20, 2009 against Texas.

"Today was a beautiful day," Ramirez said. "I put some good swings on the ball and saw the ball very well. I was just trying to keep my shoulder closed and see the ball."

Despite Ramirez's performance, the night belonged to Laird.

"He's a good hitter and he's going to play in the big leagues soon," Ramirez said.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.