Manny Machado is aware that he is Manny Machado
So when baseball's top non-pitching prospect strode to the plate with three hits to his name-in-lights on the scoreboard at Bowie's Prince George's Stadium, he wasn't expecting any easy pitches. Trenton reliever Mark Montgomery was thinking the same thing.
"He threw me a fastball, middle. I stayed back and took it," Machado said. "I knew I had a good day and knew I wasn't going to get another good pitch to hit. I was just looking for an off-speed pitch, and he gave me one. I wasn't trying to hit a home run, I was just trying to make contact."
Machado sent that 0-1 slider over the left-center-field fence to complete the BaySox's first cycle in four years and provide the winning margin in an 8-7 victory over the visiting Thunder.
"To put the team ahead, that was a great feeling that I felt," he said. "Never in my life have I cycled. I'm lucky to have done it."
Batting fifth and playing his usual shortsop, Machado tripled toward right in the second.
"Whenever I am going well, I have the tendency to hit the ball to right," he said.
He pulled an RBI double in a four-run third and led off the sixth with a single to center. Did he realize what was transpiring?
"I did know, but it wasn't crossing my mind to hit a home run," he said of his fourth and final at-bat against Montgomery (1-1).
The blast also was significant because it took Machado off the hook. The 20-year-old Miami prep product made two errors on one play -- one fielding and one throwing on Luke Murton's grounder -- that preceded four unearned runs fot the Thunder in the sixth.
"We had a bad inning," he said. "I made a play that I shouldn't have. I made a throw that I shouldn't have made."
Machado made up for those miscues, his 21st and 22nd in 105 games, with the first four-hit game of his three-year career. The third overall pick in the 2010 Draft became the first Bowie player since Lou Montanez to single, double, triple and homer in a single game. Montanez, now playing to Triple-A Memphis in the Cardinals organization, collected five knocks and eight RBIs at Altoona on Aug. 1, 2008.
The longball was Machado's 10th, one off his 2011 career-high, and the night prolonged his strong week at the plate. He has 11 hits in 20 at-bats over his last five games, raising his average to .262, the highest it's been in three weeks. Has he adjusted his swing?
"No, not really. I've been doing the same all year," he said. "Just trying to react, not trying to do too much."
Thunder starter Craig Heyer, who yielded Machado's triple and double, was charged with five runs on six hits and did not come out for the fifth.
Bowie's Richard Zagone gave up six runs -- two earned -- on six hits over 5 2/3 frames. He pitched better than his line, striking out nine.
Trenton had an eight-game winning streak snapped but got a boost from Yankees' No. 15 prospect Zoilo Almonte, who slugged his 16th homer, a fourth-inning solo shot.