The odds of hitting for the cycle once are about the same as pitching a no-hitter. Hitting for the cycle twice in one season? That's just "crazy," according to Michael Hernandez.
Hernandez hit for the cycle for the second time in less than two months Tuesday night, getting help from an unlikely source as the West Michigan Whitecaps blanked the Peoria Chiefs, 10-0, at Fifth Third Ballpark.
Hernandez delivered a two-run double in the first inning, slugged a two-run homer in the third and singled in the fifth. He flied out to right field in the seventh and did not look like he'd get another chance to repeat his feat from June 8.
"Quite a few players came up to me and said, 'Dude, you can hit for the cycle twice, which would be amazing,'" Hernandez said. "I wanted to stay humble, but then the ball (was) thrown into our dugout and I said, 'Man, I'm gonna do this right now.'"
West Michigan had scored twice in the eighth, but Matthew Joyce hit an apparent inning-ending double-play ball to second base. When shortstop Kyle Reynolds' relay was wild, Hernandez got another chance.
He made the most of it with a perfectly placed drive down the right-field line.
"I was just looking for a pitch away and he gave me a pitch away," Hernandez said, referring to Chiefs reliever Matt Avery. "I sat on it. I hit the ball well to right field, right down the line. As soon as I hit it, I knew I had to get three (bases).
"I feel like I'm in a dream or something. It feels weird."
It was the second triple of the season for the 22-year-old designated hitter, whose other three-base hit came in his other cycle on June 8 at Fort Wayne.
"I would have to say the triple is probably the hardest thing to get. You gotta be fast and I'm not that fast. I've got decent speed," said Hernandez, who is 12-for-17 over his last three games to get his average back to .302.
On July 9 against Cedar Rapids, shortstop Mike Hollimon became the second Whitecap to hit for the cycle this season. Hollimon was on deck Tuesday when Hernandez did him one better.
"He kind of looked at me and said, 'Go do it. Do it again,'" Hernandez said. "Man, I hope he gets it (again). He's a great ballplayer, a great guy."
William Rhymes collected three hits and scored twice, while Pedro Cotto had two hits and two RBIs to help West Michigan (25-7) to its sixth straight win.
Burke Badenhop (10-3) had no trouble pitching with the big lead. He gave up five hits and struck out eight over seven innings for his fifth straight win.
Peoria starter Jesus Yepez (4-6) surrendered four runs on nine hits over six innings with three walks and five strikeouts. Ryan Norwood singled and walked in four plate appearances for the Chiefs (16-16), who have lost a season-high four in a row.