When Carlos Asuaje hit a 3-2 pitch to the gap in left-center field in the eighth inning on Saturday, he had one thing on his mind.
"Right off the bat," he said. "I knew I needed a triple, so I just went for it."
The Padres infielder slid into third base with the second cycle in team history, driving in a career-high five runs as Triple-A El Paso rolled to a 13-1 victory over Memphis on Saturday at Southwest University Park.
2018 Minor League milestones
Asuaje sliced a single to right field off Cardinals No. 30 prospect Daniel Poncedeleon (5-3) in the opening frame to begin his big night. An inning later, he hit his seventh double of the season, sending a 1-1 pitch to right and driving in Auston Bousfield, Luis Perdomo and Forrestt Allday to give the Chihuahuas a 4-0 lead.
The 26-year-old hit his first Minor League homer of the year in the fourth, clearing the right field fence on a 1-0 pitch with Padres No. 3 prospect Luis Urias aboard. After popping out to third base in the sixth, Asuaje completed the cycle with a leadoff triple on a full count, his second of the season, to left in the eighth.
Video: El Paso's Asuaje completes cycle
It was the fourth cycle in the Pacific Coast League this season and the first for El Paso since July 19, 2016 when Taylor Lindsey did it, also against Memphis.
"I think more than anything just swinging at good pitches," he told the team's website. "The guys around me, putting quality at-bats together and really just trying to do my job."
Asuaje started the season in the Majors and batted .193/.256/.284 with two homers and 13 RBIs in 43 games. He was assigned to El Paso on May 21.
"He's going to go down and do what we talked about -- play some third base, bounce around the field, continue to work on his versatility," Padres manager Andy Green told MLB.com. "He's had quality at-bats in the last week and a half as he's been up, but opportunity has been dwindling just by roster composition. He's got to find his rhythm, and the best way to do that sometimes is to go play."
Since joining the Chihuahuas, the Venezuela native has hits in 17 of 23 games. And in 14 contests in June, Asuaje boasts a .365/.411/.615 slash line. The five RBIs eclipsed by one his previous career high -- he homered and drove in four runs for San Diego on April 23 at Colorado.
"Baseball is six months for a reason," Asuaje said. "I don't think one month really dictates a season for any player. It's just a matter of getting the swing of things and getting things going."
Asuaje also spent time with the Padres last year, hitting .270 in 89 games. He batted .250 with 35 RBIs in 62 games with El Paso a season ago, his second at the Triple-A level.
Brett Nicholas collected three hits and three RBIs for the Chihuahuas, while Allen Craig picked up two doubles and scored twice. Perdomo (4-2) notched his first win since May 10, limiting the Redbirds to a run on six hits and two walks with four strikeouts in six innings.