Fortenberry cycles way out of slump

Ends 0-for-11 drought, collects three RBIs in Yankees' romp

(Jerry Hale/MLB.com)

By Alan Friedman / Special to MLB.com | June 6, 2008 6:31 PM ET

Tampa Yankees center fielder Seth Fortenberry sure knows how to break out of a slump.

Fortenberry ended an 0-for-11 drought by hitting for the cycle Friday, driving in three runs to spark the Yankees to a 10-0 rout of the Palm Beach Cardinals at Steinbrenner Field.

The 24-year-old was having some trouble at the plate this season, but he put in some extra work with hitting coach Aaron Ledesma before the game.

"I worked with [Ledesma] on getting some of the kinks out," Fortenberry explained. "During the game, I tried not to think too much and hope the preparation would take over."

Whatever his approach, it worked. The former 11th-round draft pick singled in the first inning, smacked a solo homer to right in the fourth, tripleed to right in the sixth and doubled to center in the seventh.

"After the triple, everyone in the dugout let me know about it [the cycle]," he said. "But I pretty much knew, although I tried not to think about it."

Fortenberry missed most of Spring Training with a jammed left wrist suffered during a pre-camp workout while hitting against a pitching machine.

"I really missed the at-bats and had been struggling since the beginning of the season," the Baylor University product said. "I've been working just to get my timing down and staying back so I can see the ball a lot longer."

Fortenberry became the first Florida State Leaguer to hit for the cycle since Sarasota's Jay Garthwaite on May 13, 2006.

"Tomorrow is a new day, but I hope to be able to build on what I did tonight," he added.

Andres Perez also went 4-for-5 with a pair of homers and four RBIs to help the Yankees (32-28) snap a six-game losing streak.

Former third-round pick Zach McAllister (1-1) scattered seven hits and fanned six without a walk over seven scoreless frames to pick up his first FSL win.

Kyle Mura (5-2) was tagged for five runs on 13 hits over 5 2/3 innings, striking out two without a walk for Palm Beach (39-22).

The loss ended the Cardinals' six-game winning streak and prevented them from clinching the Eastern Division first-half title.

Alan Friedman is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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