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Crumbliss triples to complete cycle08/31/2011 1:35 AM ET
By Ashley Marshall / Special to MLB.com
Conner Crumbliss was in uncharted territory when he stepped into the batter's box in the seventh inning on Tuesday. But that did not stop him from writing his name in the California League record book.
Crumbliss' triple down the right-field line completed the first cycle of his career as the Class A Advanced Stockton Ports clobbered the Modesto Nuts, 17-4.
"I've been a home run away a few times, but I've never got the homer and needed the triple," he said. "I've got the first three a couple times, but I've never hit for the cycle. It was the first time I had done it in my life.
"I couldn't believe it happened. I don't hit many home runs, so to have [a homer and triple] on the same night is rare. It was pretty cool."
The 24-year-old second baseman singled and scored in the first inning, then popped out to third base to end the second. He pulled a two-out double to right field in the third and smacked a two-run homer -- his seventh of the season and fifth this month -- an inning later.
"It was a first-pitch fastball down and in and I got it out to dead right [field]," Crumbliss said. "I was lucky, I couldn't believe it went out. I was just looking for a first-pitch fastball over the plate somewhere. [Reliever Sheng-An Kuo] came in and I wanted it in, so you could say I was sitting on it."
The 2009 28th-round Draft pick completed his cycle bid in seventh, legging out a leadoff triple to right.
"I knew I was a triple short, but I didn't think there was any way of getting it because their center fielder [Delta Cleary Jr.] is pretty fast," Crumbliss said. "[Chad Rose] went 3-0 and then threw me a fastball for a strike. I got another fastball on 3-1 and I got it off the end of the bat, but it went down the line.
"It landed fair, just barely, and went off the fence. I was trying not to watch it and I just kept my head down. I guess I was just hoping it didn't bounce out, because usually when it hits the warning track it goes for a ground-rule double."
The ball took a big hop off the wall and got away from right fielder Orlando Sandoval long enough for Crumbliss to cruise into third base without a play.
"It was pretty cool," he said. "When the ball landed, I was halfway to second, so I knew I had a chance. I went in standing up, so it must have taken a funny hop off the fence. I couldn't believe it."
Crumbliss is batting .302 since the All-Star break, but he entered Tuesday's game with just one extra-base hit in his last 38 at-bats. The Emporia State product put his big night down to small changes in his timing at the plate.
"I've slowed down a little bit and I haven't been seeing the ball too well," he said. "I was a bit jerky in the box, but I've been working on getting my front foot down and getting better pitches to hit.
"This year has had its ups and downs, just like any season. The first half, I got off to a good start, but in the second half I've been a lot better and I've been making better contact."
The cycle was the the fourth in the California League and second for the Ports this season. Kent Walton achieved the feat on April 21 against Lancaster.
Crumbliss is wrapping up his third pro season. He made his debut in 2009, hitting .290 between short-season Vancouver and Class A Kane County. Last year, he batted .271 with five homers, 56 RBIs and 24 stolen bases back in the Midwest League.