With his team leading by 14 runs in the eighth inning and reserve outfielder Hernan Iribarren on the mound for Triple-A Louisville, Toledo's Alex Presley knew it was appropriate to lay off the throttle. He still faced a dilemma, however, as he rounded first base after sending a liner into the right field corner.
"It didn't really cross my mind until I was running and then it kind of dawned on me: 'I think I might have the cycle,'" Presley said. "So I just kept going. We were up by a lot of runs -- I probably would have stopped [at second] otherwise -- but you don't get many chances to do that, so I just kept going."
Video: Mud Hens' Presley triples for cycle
Presley recorded his second career cycle, capping the milestone performance with his first triple of the season, as the Mud Hens rolled to a 16-2 romp over the Bats on Wednesday at Fifth Third Field. The 31-year-old Louisiana native finished 5-for-6 with a career-high four runs scored and an RBI.
2017 Minor League milestones
The cycle was the first for a Mud Hen since Avisail Garcia completed the feat on July 7, 2013.
Presley also hit for his first cycle against his current club in just his third Triple-A game with Indianapolis on June 27, 2010.
"Who would have thought?" Presley said, laughing at the turn of events. "Anytime you can do something like that on the field is really cool. I just want to enjoy it. We have a 10:30 game tomorrow morning, so I don't have much time to enjoy it before I get back out there."
Gameday box score
The Mud Hens' leadoff man started four different innings with hits, beginning with a single in the first against Louisville starter Wendolyn Bautista.
"Once you get past the first inning, you kind of feel like you're open to swing," Presley said. "Starting the game, I don't like to swing right away, but as the game goes on and you lead off innings, you get a good pitch and sometimes you just take a hack at it. A lot of times those are the best pitches to hit."
Presley scored on the first of two homers by Tigers No. 9 prospect JaCoby Jones. For Presley, Jones' second blast overshadowed his own accomplishment, purely for the sake of entertainment.
"Probably the coolest thing that happened today was not the cycle," he said, recalling a seventh-inning sequence against reliever Nick Routt. "I hit a home run off the foul pole and then JaCoby Jones hit one off the same foul pole right after me.
Video: Presley homers off foul pole for Mud Hens
"That was one of the weirdest things to happen. Honestly, I've never seen that before. We were like, 'What are the chances of that?' We've never seen it. It's got to be astronomical, the chances of that happening."
After bouncing out in the second inning, the Ole Miss product led off the fourth with a double and started the fifth with a single. Presley entered the game with six extra-base hits and a .206 average in 33 games.
"I haven't had the best start, but I'm not a guy that usually comes out of the gates hot anyway, so it takes me a little while. So I'm kind of warming up with the weather," Presley said.
Presley's assessment of his early-season numbers wasn't far off as the 2006 eighth-round pick failed to collect an extra-base knock while hitting .169 in 24 games in April. He's batting .311 in May to get his overall average up to .235.
"I've been battling, so this was huge for me to finally feel like it all came together today," Presley said. "I just try to use it as a springboard the rest of the way."
Presley had bounced around the Minors since being part of the 2013 trade that sent former MVP Justin Morneau from the Twins to the Pirates, then going then to the Astros before signing with the Brewers in 2016. He signed with the Tigers last July with 376 games of big league experience.
Jones went 3-for-6 with four RBIs and three runs scored, while John Hicks was 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs for Toledo.
Phil Ervin, the Reds' No. 19 prospect, doubled, singled and scored a run for Louisville.