|© MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.|
Lutz hits for first cycle in Dayton history07/22/2011 12:11 AM ET
By David Heck / Special to MLB.com
Donald Lutz had already hit for the cycle once in his career. This time, he did it even faster.
Lutz achieved the cycle in his first four at-bats Thursday, singling in the fifth inning to become the first person in the Class A Dayton's almost 12-year history to accomplish the feat. His four hits were part of a season-high 21 for the Dragons, who routed Peoria, 13-0.
Lutz, 22, extended his hitting streak to 13 games with his performance. He is batting .308 (16-for-52) with three homers and 10 RBIs during the streak.
"It feels great," said Lutz, who previously cycled for the GCL Reds on July 10, 2009. "It feels awesome. It was a great night, we had a a good game. It just kind of happened."
The first base prospect started his game on a strong note, belting the first pitch he saw over the right-field wall for a solo home run. He worked backward from there, lining a triple to right in the second and then smacking a two-out double to left in the third.
"My first at-bat, I was pretty aggressive," Lutz said. "I hit the first pitch I saw out. I said, 'No matter what, it's gonna be a good day.'
"In my next at-bat, I hit a triple in the gap. As soon as I rounded second, on my way to third, I thought, 'Oh, I need a double and a single for the cycle.'"
With the three extra-base hits out of the way early, Lutz had several innings to get the single. But he didn't waste any time, grounding the first pitch of the fifth through the right side to complete the feat.
"It was pretty quick," he said. "It was the first pitch again. I came to the plate and all the fans were yelling already, 'No matter where you hit it, just stop at first!' I was just looking for a good pitch to hit. In hindsight, it was a slide piece. I got my hands through and hit the ball to right."
Lutz did not make an out until his fifth at-bat, when he lined out to center in the sixth. He then flied out to right in his final plate appearance in the eighth.
Born in Watertown, N.Y., Lutz moved to Germany with his mother when he was very young -- 2 or 3 years old, he said. He did not start playing baseball until he was 15, when his older brother invited him to a club practice.
A year later, Lutz was playing for Germany's national under-18 team and competing all over Europe. He eventually earned an invitation to a Major League Baseball academy in Italy, then signed with the Reds as a non-drafted free agent in 2007.
"Every year, the 60 best players in Europe and Africa get to have a tryout for three weeks [at the academy]," Lutz said. "I got an invite to that, did pretty well and signed with the Reds. It went really fast, everything. I didn't even know, the year before I signed, there was such a thing as professional baseball."
After Thursday's performance, Lutz is batting .266 with 14 homers and 39 RBIs in 82 games this year.
Several other players had big nights for Dayton as well. Second baseman Ronald Torreyes went 5-for-5, giving him 12 hits in his last 15 at-bats. Designated hitter Dominic D'Anna went 3-for-4 with a homer and five RBIs.
Dayton starter Daniel Renken (5-8) earned the win after allowing just one hit over 5 2/3 innings and striking out 10. He leads the Midwest League with 137 punchouts and has been hot of late, posting a 1.16 ERA through four starts in July.
Dayton's 21 hits were one shy of the club record, set June 4, 2002 against Beloit. Peoria had not allowed that many hits in a game since July 4, 2005, when Kane County tallied 26 en route to a 21-2 win.
The last player to hit for the cycle against the Chiefs was Michael Hernandez, who accomplished the feat for West Michigan on July 25, 2006.