Hillcats' Brewer hits for the cycle

Braves farmhand completes feat with ninth-inning double

Dan Brewer is batting .324 in nine games since being traded. (Lynchburg Hillcats)

By Ashley Marshall / Special to MLB.com | July 29, 2012 4:55 PM ET

For Dan Brewer, the mental aspect of being injured is often as taxing as the ailment itself.

Finally healthy again, the former South Atlantic League All-Star was given a new lease of life earlier this month when he was sold by the Yankees to the Braves on his 25th birthday.

With a chance to get regular at-bats with a new team, Brewer is looking for a fresh start, both in body and mind.

And in his ninth game with his new organization on Sunday, Brewer recorded the first cycle in the Carolina League in four years as the Class A Advanced Lynchburg Hillcats beat the Salem Red Sox, 9-3.

"With the injuries I've had, it's been up and down with the mental side," the Illinois native said. "Every time I've been playing well, I've got hurt. I just have to keep grinding and hope it turns out and appreciate the time I have playing the game I love.

"This is just an exciting time for me. Hopefully, this is the first cycle of many."

The last Carolina Leaguer to hit for the cycle was Brandon Allen, who achieved the feat for Winston-Salem on May 14, 2008 against Lynchburg.

Brewer smacked a two-run homer, his first longball of the season, with one out in the first inning and singled up the middle in the third.

"It was a 3-1 fastball in," Brewer said of his first homer since Aug. 22, 2010. "I just got the barrel of the bat on the ball. [Matt Barnes] was throwing hard, but I put a good swing on it. I hit it right down the line, so I was just hoping it stayed fair."

The 25-year-old left fielder legged out a two-out RBI triple in the fifth, struck out in the seventh, then doubled in the ninth.

"[After the triple] I was hoping for two more at-bats," Brewer said. "I was seeing the ball well at the plate and after the strikeout I just wanted to get one more at-bat. Fortunately, I did.

"I was looking for a fastball away. I got one first pitch and hit it right down the right-field line. Out of the box, I knew I was going two all the way. A couple guys yelled out to me from the bullpen and their middle infielders congratulated me. It was a great feeling to have the teams support me on this accomplishment."

Brewer raised his average 83 points to .324 and hopes the historic day, coupled with the trade, will kick-start his season.

Selected in the eighth round of the 2008 Draft out of Bradley University, Brewer appeared in 61 games across four Minor League levels last year. And he's logged only 149 at-bats this season.

"I pulled my hamstring twice last year and I hurt my knee in August," he said. "Then I broke my pinky on my left hand diving back to first base in April and I collided with the first baseman diving for a ball and dislocated the ring finger on my left hand in May.

"It's always a weird feeling at first being the new guy coming in, but this organization has welcomed me with open arms and I'm happy to be a part of it. I was sad to leave the Yankees, but it's given me a fresh start."

Overshadowed by Brewer's performance was Hillcats starter Cody Martin (11-7), who took a no-hitter into the sixth and faced two batters over the minimum over seven scoreless innings.

Adalberto Ibarra recorded the Red Sox's only hit off Martin when he led off the sixth with a single to center field. But he was quickly erased on James Kang's double play.

"I was on the same page with my catcher, Chad Comer, and from the first inning we knew our plan was to attack," Martin said. "I was down in the zone and I wasn't making too many mistakes with my off-speed stuff.

"My fastball was my most effective pitch because I was locating it to both sides of the plate. I mixed in my curveball and cutter to keep them off-balance."

Martin was relieved by Ryne Harper, who carried the shutout into the ninth before Matt Chaffee surrendered solo homers to three of the first four batters he faced.

"It was pretty awesome," Martin said of Brewer's day. "He's new to the organization. He came in a trade with the Yankees about a week and a half ago and he's been struggling a little bit. But he hit a big home run today and from then, he was just locked in. He was seeing the ball real well. It was fun to watch."

Barnes (5-4), Boston's No. 4 prospect, allowed seven runs -- four earned -- on seven hits while striking out nine over five innings.

Ashley Marshall 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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