Alex Rios was going for it. Once he lined a shot into the right-center field gap in the sixth inning, he had triple on his mind.
Rios knew that his first career cycle was at stake and didn’t think twice when he rounded second. He reached third safely, as the Astros didn’t even have a chance to make a play on it.
“I knew I had to go … was going from the first step that I took,” Rios said. “It was good placement.”
The triple capped off a memorable night for Rios, who became the seventh player in Texas history to accomplish the feat. Adrian Beltre was the last player to hit for the cycle on Aug. 24, 2012.
Rios had a two-run double in the first inning, an infield single in the third, a solo homer in the fourth and the triple in the sixth.
The cycle overshadowed a base-running mistake he made after his single in the third. He was on third base with one out when Craig Gentry lofted a fly ball to center that should have been a sacrifice fly. But Rios held at third, although he scored that inning when David Murphy drew a bases-loaded walk.
Rios caught some grief from his teammates in the dugout and all was forgiven when he completed the cycle.
“Just a good night at the plate,” Rios said. “The most important thing is that we won tonight. That’s the attitude we’re going to take. This is what we have to do to finish the season.”
The cycle provided a nice moment to celebrate for the Rangers in the midst of their September slide. Rios received the customary beer shower afterwards as he became the third major leaguer to hit for the cycle this season, joining Mike Trout of the Angels and Brandon Barnes of the Astros.
Of the last five cycles in the American League, the Rangers have three of them (Rios, Beltre and Bengie Molina on July 16, 2010).
“It was amazing,” said shortstop Elvis Andrus, who scored on Rios' triple. “I didn’t know until I was done running. People don’t know how hard it is to hit for the cycle. It has to be your day and it was for him today.”
Said manager Ron Washington: “You wish that in your career you could’ve done that. It worked out perfectly for him. He hit it in the perfect part of the field and with his speed he was able to do it. From the bench we were yelling: ‘Triple. Triple. Triple.’ He can run for a big man.”
-- Drew Davison