Having hit for the cycle less than two weeks ago, Aaron Hill had a plan for when he came up with a shot at a second one.
Well, as much as one can plan for the rare batting feat.
”You can’t think about it,” he said. ”You look for a ball up and hope things work out.”
It did. Hill hit for the cycle for the second time in 12 days and Ian Kennedy pitched seven strong innings, leading the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 9-3 victory over the Brewers on Friday night.
Hill also singled, doubled, tripled and homered on June 18 against Seattle.
Brooklyn’s Babe Herman is the only other major leaguer to hit for two cycles in one season since 1900, according to STATS LLC. He accomplished the feat in 1931.
”A cycle is one of those crazy things and to do it twice in (12) days – that’s crazy,” Brewers starter Randy Wolf said.
Hill doubled for his 1,000th hit in the first, singled in the third and hit his 11th home run of the season, a two-run shot in the fourth. All those hits came off Wolf (2-6).
Hill tripled in the sixth inning off Livan Hernandez. His headfirst slide into third easily beat the relay throw from the outfield.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke wasn’t surprised by Hill’s hitting prowess.
”He can really hit,” Roenicke said. ”This is a really good hitter. We made some bad pitches.”
Brewers catcher George Kottaras appreciated the pressure Hill was under. Last season, Kottaras became the seventh player in franchise history to hit for the cycle,
”He’s swinging really well,” Kottaras said. ”I know it’s tough to do it once.”
Hill seemed a bit dumbfounded by, but still happy with his good fortune.
”It’s great,” the Diamondbacks’ second baseman said. ”Obviously, it’s great to get the win, too. It wouldn’t have been as enjoyable if we came away with a loss. It was just a fun game.”
Paul Goldschmidt came close to hitting for the cycle, too. He doubled, homered, singled and walked before a fan interfered with his hard grounder down the left field line in the ninth. Goldschmidt most likely would not have made third even without the spectator’s glove deflecting the ball.
Kennedy (6-7) allowed a run in the first, but then kept Milwaukee off the board until the sixth when he created his own jam that led to two unearned runs.
Rickie Weeks tapped back to the mound and Kennedy’s wide throw pulled the first baseman off the bag for an error. After he walked Kottaras, Cesar Izturis doubled off the wall in deep right-center.
Kennedy gave up six hits, walked one and struck out seven, including five in a row as he rebounded from his previous start at home against the Chicago Cubs. He went a season low-tying 4 1-3 innings Saturday, allowing five runs and 10 hits.
He was also much better this time against the Brewers who beat him 7-1 on May 25 when he allowed four runs on seven hits in 5 2-3 innings.
It was his first start at Miller Park since pitching six innings in the decisive Game 5 of the NL division series on Oct. 7.
Nyjer Morgan’s RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning off J.J. Putz gave Milwaukee a 3-2 victory and the Brewers’ playoff series win in 29 years.
Wolf allowed five runs on five hits in the third. He failed to retire any of the first five batters and that collapse cost him a chance at his first victory since April 30, a span of 11 starts.
After the first two hitters reached on hits, Justin Upton and Jason Kubel followed with run-scoring singles. Goldschmidt then cleared the bases with his 11th homer of the season.
Hill’s two-run homer in the fourth came after Willie Bloomquist reached on second baseman Weeks’ throwing error.
Wolf went a season-low tying four innings. He was charged with seven earned runs on nine hits and struck out six.
Aramis Ramirez’s run-scoring groundout gave Wolf a brief 1-0 lead in the first, but after that it was all Diamondbacks.
Notes: Brewers RHP Shaun Marcum probably won’t pitch until after the All-Star game. During a pre-game throwing session, he continued to experience right elbow tightness. The right-hander (5-3, 3.39 ERA) last pitched on June 14 and has missed two starts since. … Arizona has won two consecutive games away from home after snapping a season-high four-game road skid with Thursday’s 3-2 victory over Atlanta. … Hill became the sixth Diamondback to hit for the cycle.