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Osprey's Pulfer cycles way out of funk06/28/2012 1:08 AM ET
By Robert Emrich / Special to MLB.com
Daniel Pulfer entered Wednesday's game hitless for the season. He ended it in the record book.
The D-backs prospect became the first Osprey player to hit for the cycle in nearly five years and tied a team record with six RBIs as Missoula cruised to a 20-0 rout of the Helena Brewers.
Pulfer opened the bottom of the first by grounding out, then ended the seven-run inning by popping up to second base. But he collected his first hit of the season in the third, tripling home a run. The 2011 19th-round Draft pick followed that up with a single in the fifth and slugged a two-run homer in the sixth.
With the bases loaded in the seventh, Pulfer doubled off the center-field wall to cap the scoring and his cycle.
"With the way my season's been going, I got that hit and it was a huge weight lifted," he said. "I just went from there and kept making solid contact. Then I realized I had a shot at this and I was just hoping I could get a chance.
"I rounded first and couldn't help but smiling. I've failed in other opportunities to do it. I'll never forget it."
Pulfer had been 0-for-13 after reaching base just once in Missoula's first five games, so he entered Wednesday's game with a very modest goal.
"I was expecting to get one hit," the 22-year-old second baseman said. "I was telling everyone that today is the day I get a batting average. I got an accolade that not many people have gotten, and I'm grateful for that opportunity."
Pulfer, who batted .258 in 59 games for short-season Yakima in 2011, believes his record-tying performance can put him on the right path.
"I'm just hoping it continues," he said. "It's easy to build momentum off tonight and I am hoping I can do that. I'm not a home run hitter and I'm not going to hit for the cycle every night, I just want to get quality at-bats and if it falls, it falls. We have a great, talented young team that put up some hurting."
The California native was the second player in team history to hit for the cycle and the first since Jimmy Principe on Aug. 17, 2007. It was the first cycle in the Pioneer League since Orem's Taylor Lindsey did it last Aug. 6.
Catcher Michael Perez, the D-backs' No. 9 prospect, drove in five runs and finished a double shy of the cycle for the Osprey.
"He's a great kid," Pulfer said. "I'm really excited to follow his career -- watching his swing is amazing. I like the way he approaches the plate. He works hard and he really helps with the Latin guys because he can speak English and Spanish really well. He's the guy the coach goes to. He's a silent team leader because he can do it the right way and he fits perfectly with this team."
John Leonard reached base four times and scored four runs as Missoula collected a season-high 20 hits.
Jared Ray (1-0) earned his first win after striking out six and allowing one hit over five innings.