Mavericks' Almonte hits for the cycle

Mariners prospect completes feat with eighth-inning triple

Denny Almonte leads the team with 22 homers and 93 RBIs in 118 games. (High Desert Mavericks)

By Robert Emrich / Special to | August 24, 2011 9:44 PM

The fifth time was the charm for Denny Almonte.

The Mariners prospect hit for the cycle Wednesday as part of his third career four-hit game, leading the Class A Advanced High Desert Mavericks to a 13-6 romp over the Visalia Rawhide.

Almonte got off to a quick start, smacking a solo homer in his first at-bat in the second inning. He doubled and singled in the Mavericks' seven-run fourth before striking out in the sixth. Leading off the eighth, the 2007 second-round Draft pick hit a fly ball to left field and barely beat the throw to third for the California League's third cycle of the season.

"I didn't know, I thought it was more likely a double," Almonte said of his fourth hit. "It was just down the line and I used my speed. It was a bang-bang play [at third base]. I saw him throw the ball as I was rounding second -- if it was a perfect throw, I would have been out."

It was the 22-year-old outfielder's first cycle since his high school days in Florida.

"I'm real happy. I'm unfortunate enough to miss it a few times this year, and to get it and the victory, I'm really happy," he said.

Four times this season, Almonte had come within one hit of the cycle. He needed a homer at Lancaster on April 8, fell a triple shy against the JetHawks on April 17, needed a double four nights later at Lake Elsinore and lacked a triple again on July 20 at Lancaster.

On Wednesday, Almonte scored three times, drove in two runs and collected four hits for the first time since May 5, 2010, also with High Desert.

"I was seeing the ball really well," he said. "It all started with my batting practice. I was doing really good things, I was driving the ball, and in the game I was getting on my pitches."

Almonte is wrapping up his second season in the Cal League. After slugging 22 homers in 127 games last year, he's matched that total with 12 games left in the regular season while hitting .278. He's tied with Rancho Cucamonga's Angelo Songco -- who cycled on May 25 -- for fifth in the league with 93 RBIs.

"I'm real happy, actually," Almonte said. "My goal was to hit 100 RBIs and I'm right at the point where I find that I can get to the 100 mark. I'm right there with 12 games to play -- an RBI a day and I should be right there."

Joseph Dunigan was 3-for-5 with a homer and five RBIs, while Matt Browning drove in three runs for the Mavs. Trevor Coleman slugged a solo homer, going back-to-back with Dunigan in the fourth.

Chris Sorce (8-11) snapped a personal three-game losing streak, despite allowing six runs -- four earned -- on nine hits over 6 2/3 innings. He struck out seven.

Robert Emrich is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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