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Rockies' Story hits for cycle in Nuts' loss

Shortstop triples in the fifth, finishes 5-for-6 in 14-12 road defeat
April 7, 2014

Trevor Story has come close to hitting for the cycle before, but it's not exactly easy to leg out a triple when the pressure is on.

"You always go up thinking about hitting one and I've come close a couple times, getting thrown out at third trying to stretch a triple," he said.

On Monday, Colorado's No. 10 prospect needed that elusive three-bagger when he dug in to lead off the seventh inning for Class A Advanced Modesto. He hit a fly ball to center field off Visalia's Henry Garcia and took off running.

"Right when I hit it, I heard all the guys in the dugout yelling, 'Go for it! Go for it!'" he said. "So I went for it."

Story made it to third safely to record the first cycle of the 2014 season, going 5-for-6 with two RBIs and a steal in the visiting Nuts' 14-12 California League loss to the Rawhide.

He homered to lead off the game, singled and stole a base in the second, singled again in the third and lined an RBI double in the fourth before beginning the seventh with his fifth hit of the afternoon.

"It was pretty awesome," Story said. "I was just sticking with my same approach the whole game, trying to hit something hard up the middle or in the gap."

It was the first cycle in the California League since Darnell Sweeney did it for Rancho Cucamonga on May 7, 2013.

Story is hoping the cycle kick-starts his second season in Modesto after struggling there last summer. In 130 games, the shortstop hit .233 with 12 homers, 65 RBIs and a .305 on-base percentage, enough for the Rockies to send him back to California at the end of Spring Training last month. He entered 2013 ranked as Colorado's No. 3 prospect but has since dropped to No. 10.

Story went 2-for-4 in his season debut April 3, but was in a 1-for-12 slump over his previous three games entering Monday.

"I think I've been a slow starter most of my career, and it's good to get the good start under my belt," he said. "What we're really worried about is getting some wins, that's our main objective."

But in terms of development and progress, Story knows this season will be a big one for him, regardless of the Nuts' record.

"After last year, I had an idea I would be coming back here, and I learned a lot about myself as a player," he said. "I really tried to get back to my old self in the offseason and just really tried to repeat what I've done my whole life." 

The cycle is new, though, and it also marked the first five-hit effort of Story's career. It's also the most hits he's had in a game since he went 4-for-5 on Aug. 28, 2012 with Class A Asheville.

"Obviously it gives you a little bit of confidence," he said. "But I've just tried to have the same approach these first five games and have tried to repeat it."

Story, 21, was the Rockies' first-round pick in the 2011 Draft and earned Rockies All-Star honors in 2012, his first full season in the Minors. His numbers dropped in 2013, aside from adding a few more stolen bases, and he now looks to regain the power stroke he showed in 2011, when he hit 18 homers and drove home 63 runs in 122 games.

The Irving (Texas) High School product said the Rockies haven't discussed their expectations for him this season. 

"For me, it's day by day, I try to take every game as if it's my last," he said. "If I get moved up, that's cool, and if I don't, I'll stay here and try to win. That's how I'm looking at it."

Modesto's bid for the win fell apart late Monday. The Nuts scored three times in the first and built a 12-8 lead by the fifth, with Story's triple in the seventh appearing to be the icing on an afternoon victory. Visalia, though, stormed back with six runs in the bottom of the seventh after a three-run homer by Alex Glenn and RBI hits by Socrates Brito, Raul Navarro and Brandon Drury. Story had a chance to spark another comeback rally in the ninth, but struck out swinging to lead off the frame against Jimmie Sherfy.

"First of all, hitting is contagious for us, and Visalia too, they were swinging it pretty good," Story said. "Somebody catches fire and the whole team starts rallying around it. It's exciting, but it's also pretty grueling on all the players. It's definitely really fun to score a lot of runs."

Danny Wild is an editor for Follow his MLBlog, Minoring in Twitter.