Rarest of feats
Wilkerson hits for 13th natural cycle in major league historyPosted: Tuesday June 24, 2003 4:24 PM
Updated: Tuesday June 24, 2003 6:44 PM
MONTREAL (AP) -- Brad Wilkerson put together Le Carrousel in order.
Wilkerson became the fifth Montreal player to hit for the cycle, going 4-for-4 with four RBIs and leading the Expos to a 6-4 win over the Pirates on Tuesday.
"It's just something you dream of doing as a big league ballplayer," Wilkerson said.
He bunted for a single in the second, hit a one-hop double off the right-field wall in the fifth, and put Montreal ahead 2-1 with a two-run triple in the sixth.
In the seventh, Wilkerson drove Salomon Torres' 1-2 pitch over the center-field wall to become the first Expos player to hit for the cycle since Rondell White did it against San Francisco on June 11, 1995.
"I wasn't thinking about hitting a home run," Wilkerson said. "It was in the back of my mind, I guess -- I would be lying to you if I said otherwise, but I was just trying to get the head (of the bat) out and hopefully get a pitch that I could drive in the gap and get up in the air."
It was the first cycle in the majors this season and the first time the feat had been performed in sequence -- single, double, triple and homer -- since the Chicago White Sox's Jose Valentin did it in five at-bats against Baltimore on Apr. 27, 2000.
"'Le Carrousel' -- I like that," Expos manager Frank Robinson said. "That's just a tremendous achievement."
The two-run homer followed Jose Vidro's RBI double, giving Wilkerson a career-high four RBIs for the fourth time.
Wilkerson's cycle helped send Pittsburgh manager Lloyd McClendon on a profanity-filled tirade in front of reporters following the game.
Tomo Ohka (6-7) allowed four hits and one run in six innings as Montreal won for the fourth time in six games.
Ohka allowed one hit through the first five innings, retiring 13 straight at one point. He left trailing 1-0 after allowing three hits in the sixth, including Jason Kendall's RBI single.
Rocky Biddle pitched the ninth for his 21st save in 24 opportunities, allowing another RBI single by Kendall after Pittsburgh scored twice in the eighth.
Jeff D'Amico (5-8) took the loss, allowing two unearned runs and four hits in 5 2-3 innings. He allowed four hits and two unearned runs.
After the game, McClendon was livid, blaming his players for a game he felt starter D'Amico pitched well enough to win.
"Sometimes the onus has got to be on them," McClendon said. He brought the session with reporters to an abrupt end, clearing his desktop with a sweeping backhand that sent a file tray and papers flying against his office wall before storming out.
Edwards Guzman grounded to short but avoided a double play when Wilson threw wildly to first. D'Amico struck out Orlando Cabrera before walking Vidro.
Montreal added three more in the seventh off Torres as Cabrera hit a two-out single and scored on Vidro's RBI double before Wilkerson hit his ninth homer of the season.
Kendall's first RBI single ended Montreal's string of 18 consecutive scoreless innings.
Notes: Despite a provincial holiday, sunny weather kept the crowd to just 5,872 inside domed Olympic Stadium. ... D'Amico threw 49 of 74 pitches for strikes. ... Matt Stairs made his second start of the season at first base, the third player to start there for Pittsburgh since Randall Simon was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday. ... Guzman went 0-for-4, ending his Expos-high 11-game hitting streak.