Brandon Dixon smacked the ball to the right-center field gap and, as he made his turn at first base, suddenly realized that if he made it to third, he'd complete the cycle.
Moments earlier, the Reds infielder strode to the plate in the ninth inning unaware a three-bagger would achieve the feat. Facing Rochester reliever Jake Reed, Dixon needed to channel the part of his game that had produced in 15 triples across six Minor League seasons, including one in 2018.
And on the second pitch of the matchup, Dixon drilled a liner to the spacious gap at Frontier Field. When he arrived at third base, following his revelation near the first base bag, he'd completed the 17th cycle in the Minor Leagues this season. The 26-year-old finished with a season-high four hits and three RBIs and set a career best with four runs scored in Triple-A Louisville's 12-5 triumph over the Red Wings.
Video: Bats' Dixon triples to complete cycle
"I didn't even think about it until I was about to round first and then I kind of remembered that I had a few other hits," Dixon said. "So I figured I should try and go for three.
"It's a big field, so I figured I had at least a double. I saw them send the guy who was on first, so I figured I might as well go for it."
The dash to third base didn't even draw a throw, but Dixon slid into third anyway.
"It's definitely a cool thing, for sure," he said. "Just to get four hits, you're pretty psyched about that. It's a cool thing to do. I was pretty excited about it."
Gameday box score
It was the sixth four-hit game of Dixon's career and first since he belted three homers in a game last Aug. 20, also against Rochester. Scott Schebler recorded Louisville's last cycle on July 26, 2016.
"Sometimes, that's just how it is," the Dodgers' 2013 third-round pick said. "Today, I got some good pitches to hit and it ended up working out for me."
Despite saving the hardest part of the cycle for last, Dixon began his afternoon auspiciously, driving in Mason Williams with a line drive double to left off starter Adalberto Mejia and scoring on Gabriel Guerrero's single during a four-run first for the Bats. He followed that with an opposite-field single to right in the third.
2018 Minor League milestones
Mejia retired Dixon for the only time on a groundout to second in the fifth. Facing right-hander Luke Bard to lead off the eighth, Dixon deposited the first pitch he saw over the center-field wall to make the cycle a possibility.
"He threw me a first-pitch slider," the California native said. "The inning before, to the two righties, he had thrown quite a few sliders. So I figured chances were I'd probably get a slider in the first couple pitches. So I was kind of sitting on it."
The University of Arizona product made his Major League debut on May 22 and spent nearly six weeks with the Reds, hitting .219 over 32 at-bats in 29 games. The promotion was warranted -- he batted .326/.365/.518 prior to the callup. Since rejoining the Bats, he's 13-for-38 with seven RBIs in nine contests. If Dixon had the minimum number of plate appearances to qualify, he'd rank second in the International League with a .329 average to complement a .932 OPS.
"It was awesome. It was a dream come true to be up there, for sure," he said. "Being back here, for me, it was just a matter of getting my timing back, dialing my swing back in. It's taken some time, for sure. The first couple of series weren't great. It feels good to put a couple good games together and start to feel good."
Guerrero finished with four RBIs. Robert Stephenson (9-6) turned in a quality start, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks with five strikeouts over seven innings.
"We haven't been playing the best baseball," Dixon said. "But the guys behind me have been driving in runs. Guys have been getting on base. Anytime you can put up 12 runs, that's a big day."
Twins No. 2 prospect Nick Gordon doubled, singled, walked and drove in a run for Rochester.