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Down on the Farm: Two San Jose Giants hit for the cycle in same game

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Down on the Farm: Two San Jose Giants hit for the cycle in same game

Lightning struck twice Wednesday night in Lancaster. 

In a game where the offense put together 25 hits, one off the team record, two San Jose Giants hit for the cycle in the same game as part of their 18-6 win over the Night Hawks. Gio Brusa and Jalen Miller became the fourth and fifth players in San Jose’s 31-year history to accomplish the rare feat. 

Every kid rides their first bicycle. No baseball team has a bi-cycle. One team having two players hit for the cycle in the same game has never been done in Major League Baseball history. According to statistician Ryan Spaeder, this has never even happened with two players on opposing teams in the same game in MLB history. Data currently does not show if this has ever been done in the minors. 

Brusa, who entered the game with only four hits on the season, put his name in the record books first with his 4-for-6 night. The local product from the University of Pacific came out swinging and knocked a home run in the first inning, singled in the second, doubled in the fourth, and then capped off his cycle by tripling in the eighth. 

The Giants’ leading home run hitter from last season attributed his cycle to getting in the right mindset through his faith earlier in the day. 

"Honestly, I'm going to have to say my faith," Brusa told MiLB.com after the game. "Today I had a great devotional, and it was all about the verse, 'Today is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.' It's very easy to look at the big scheme of things, but it just kind of really planted me in today and grounded me to focus and enjoy each and every pitch, each up, each down, each twist and turn."

Miller tied the San Jose single-game record with five hits and ignited the team’s offensive onslaught, knocking in the first run of the game on a RBI single in the first inning. The infielder singled again in his next at-bat, doubled in the sixth, and homered in the eighth. 

Hitting a triple is by far the hardest and most unlikely part of a cycle. And yet on this magic night, Miller’s triple in the ninth gave him the cycle and meant both he and Brusa’s last leg of the cycle came on a triple. 

"When I got on third, no one knew that I had actually hit for the cycle." Miller said to MiLB.com. "One of my teammates, [pitcher] Mac Marshall, he looked at me from the dugout and mouthed, 'Cycle?' I shook my head in a 'yes' way, and after the inning, we all celebrated. It was pretty cool."

The last San Jose Giant to hit for the cycle was Thomas Neal in 2009. The two other Giants to hit for the cycle are Carlos Valderrama in 2002 and Kevin Frandsen in 2005. 

Giants prospect Heliot Ramos' advancement 'really encouraging to see'

Giants prospect Heliot Ramos' advancement 'really encouraging to see'

Heliot Ramos looks more like a college safety playing football than a center fielder in the minor leagues. From his beard to his build, this isn't your average 19-year-old. 

Giants farm director Kyle Haines agrees.

“The physical tools are obviously there," Haines said on Tuesday's Inside The San Jose Giants Podcast

Ramos, the Giants' first-round pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, is listed at 6-foot-1 and 188 pounds. In person, it appears his muscular build appears even thicker, and at his young age there's still plenty of time for growth. His stature and potential turned the Giants on to draft him No. 19 overall, but it's his growth at the plate this season that has the franchise so excited. 

All offseason, Ramos worked on reading off-speed pitches better and laying off balls in the dirt while playing Winter Ball. Last season, he finished with a disappointing .313 on-base percentage. This year, Ramos is up to a .414 on-base percentage and has 11 walks to 13 strikeouts.

His ability to track late movement has stood out to Haines early in the year. 

“Those are characteristics that you usually see out of veteran hitters, and that was really encouraging to see that he’s started to acquire that skill," Haines said. 

Through 13 games, Ramos is batting .250 with 1.005 OPS for the High-A San Jose Giants. He's tied for the California League lead in home runs with four, is fourth in RBI (nine), fourth in total bases (26) and fourth in OPS. 

After starting the season 1-for-17, Ramos has 10 hits in his last 27 at-bats, good for a .370 batting average during that stretch.

“We’ve seen a huge advancement in his approach at the plate and I think that’s why you’ve seen the homers spike up a little bit," Haines said. 

It's hard to remember just how young Ramos is. When the Giants drafted him, he was only 17 years old and yet, he made a public goal of wanting to reach the major leagues in three years. Joey Bart is the talk of the Giants' farm system for all the right reasons and appears to be on the fast track to the bigs. But Ramos isn't too far behind. 

“He’d be a sophomore in college. He’s two years younger than Joey Bart," Haines reminded us. "We talk about Bart’s fast movement and then you stop and you’re thinking, ‘Hey what a minute. Heliot’s two years younger than what Joey is.’ It’s really encouraging to see … it’s exciting.” 

[RELATED: Bart, Ramos' San Jose Giants debut shows promise]

Ramos is the fifth-youngest player in the Cal League. He'll be a teenager all season long. The Giants, and fans alike, are seeing potential turn into production in only his second full season in the minors.

Despite some improvements, Giants' Drew Pomeranz is off to a slow start

Despite some improvements, Giants' Drew Pomeranz is off to a slow start

WASHINGTON D.C. -- Drew Pomeranz said it a couple of times.

"I've been feeling really good," he said after a loss to the Nationals. 

Pomeranz has looked the part for the most part, but thus far his season has not been what either side hoped. The Giants wanted a repeat of Derek Holland, but through four starts Pomeranz has a 4.82 ERA and 1.61 WHIP. He never got in gear in a 4-2 loss to the Nationals on Thursday. 

The lefty is averaging more than a strikeout per inning and his velocity is up about two mph across the board, but he also is walking too many hitters, has thrown just 18 2/3 innings, and given up four homers. 

"I've been feeling really good and the biggest part for me is trying to manage that," Pomeranz said. "I feel like I get on a roll and roll through hitters and a couple of times a game I get jammed up and end up throwing a lot of pitches."

That was Pomeranz in the first inning Thursday. In the fourth, he gave up a solo shot to Wilmer Difo with the pitcher on deck and two outs, which certainly qualifies as getting jammed up. 

Pomeranz said he has started seasons like this before and then "boom, something clicks." The Giants need that soon, but they are at least encouraged by the quality of the pitches. Pomeranz said an adjustment has to be made, and perhaps that may include mixing it up more. He entered Thursday's start throwing basically only curveballs and four-seamers. 

"The stuff is really good," manager Bruce Bochy said. "But the command has been a little erratic."

--- Mark Melancon has had a couple of nights in this scoreless stretch where he could thank the BABIP Gods. But on Thursday he entered with runners on the corners and no outs, needing a strikeout. So, the fact that Melancon got two of them was a big deal for a guy who has seen his strikeout rate drop in each of the last four years. 

"That's a tough spot to be in and he really made some great pitches and got some huge strikeouts," Bochy said. "He threw the ball very well, very well. It's obvious he's feeling really good, too. You can tell with the command of all his pitches."

[RELATED: Bochy, Belt frustrated by calls behind plate]

Through 10 innings, Melancon hasn't allowed a run. He has a 1.00 WHIP after posting a 1.59 last season. 

--- The Giants still have not scored a run in the first inning. They have scored nine runs in the ninth inning. It's nice that they never really give up, but that's an awful way to try to win. You're not going to rally against guys like Sean Doolittle too often. 

--- As far as I can tell, the Nationals did not have any mention of this being Bochy's last series here. That's certainly not required -- and Bochy doesn't want a bunch of gifts -- but the Giants did anticipate something. It'll be interesting to see how the Pirates and others handle it in the coming weeks. You would think Bochy would get shown on the scoreboard, at the very least.