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Triunfel ends Rainiers' cycle drought04/18/2013 2:34 AM ET
By Jonathan Raymond / Special to MLB.com
Carlos Triunfel came up in the bottom of the fifth inning on Wednesday night and sent Drew Bowlin's offering down the first base line before it veered info foul territory.
With the ball bouncing around and Fresno right fielder Juan Perez in pursuit, Triunfel rounded first base and headed for second. About halfway there, he changed his mind and sprinted safely back to first.
Had he made it to second, it would have been Triunfel's fourth extra-base hit of the game. Instead, he was credited with a single that just so happened to complete the cycle.
"I thought about going for a double the whole way to second, but once I saw [second baseman Carter Jurica] cut the ball off quickly, I held up halfway and turned back," Triunfel told The News Tribune through teammate Denny Almonte, who served as an interpreter. "That is when all the guys started cheering. I knew what was going on."
Triunfel singled again, finishing 5-for-5 with three runs scored as the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers blanked the Grizzlies, 8-0. It was the Rainiers' first cycle since Raul Ibanez accomplished the feat on Aug. 17, 1997 against Albuquerque and the team's first five-hit game since Michael Saunders had one on July 30, 2011 against Las Vegas.
It proved to be an historic way for Triunfel to end a 1-for-20 slump that spanned six games.
"It was good to see him break out today," Tacoma manager Daren Brown said. "I don't know that I have ever seen [a cycle] that quick -- he had it by the fifth. Got a triple out of the way his first at-bat, then it was a double, then he homered. He came up again and hit that ground ball down the first base line and he made that big turn. He rounded a pretty good ways and probably could have made it, but he threw on the brakes.
"That's as good as I've ever seen him put together at-bats. We're talking about one game, but I thought he put up five quality at-bats tonight."
The five-hit outburst raised Triunfel's batting average 72 points to .296 in his season with the Rainiers. In 2011, he hit .279/.302/.351 in 27 games, then went .260/.308/.391 in 131 contests last season.
Through 14 games this year, the line is .296/.339/.481. The 23-year-old has long been on the Mariners' prospect radar, and this will be an important season for him to show that his offensive game has become Major League-worthy.
"He's been really good defensively for us. Offensively, I think he's coming along. He's still just 23 years old," Brown said. "I think he does a lot of things that we like, it's just being more consistent. I think last year he had a 1-for-37 slump and it was 1-for-20 tonight, but he came out of it. He's putting the work in, it's just a matter of putting things together."
James Paxton (1-1), the Mariners' fifth-ranked prospect, earned the win after yielding two hits and four walks while striking out five over six innings.
No. 4 prospect Nick Franklin followed Triunfel's momentous single in the fifth with a three-run homer and finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Eric Thames also went yard for Tacoma.