It’s been a slow road to major-league success for Indians infielder-outfielder Jake Bauers, who showed up to Friday’s series opener against the Tigers batting a lackluster .209/.294/.396 in his first 63 games of the year. So, when he rounded out his first career cycle with a two-run, 405-foot homer off of Detroit’s Blaine Hardy in the eighth inning, he was all smiles.
Bauers collected his first hit in the second inning with a line drive double to right field, advancing Roberto Pérez and scoring Jason Kipnis to put the Indians on the board. In the fourth, he knocked a single off of the list and scooted around the bases to score on Leonys Martín’s subsequent three-run shot.
The most difficult hit, however, Bauers saved for the fifth inning. He worked a 1-2 count against right-hander Buck Farmer, then skied a ball to deep center field and sprinted over to third base to land a triple -- his first of the year. The speedy 23-year-old didn’t wait nearly as long for his fourth and final hit of the night, plucking the first pitch he saw from the top of the strike zone and returning it to the right field bleachers to complete the cycle in the eighth.
Per MLB.com, he’s the first Indians player to complete the feat since Rajai Davis hit for the cycle in the summer of 2016. His incredible four-run output -- more runs than he’s managed to scrape together in all but one of his 160 MLB games to date -- helped boost Cleveland to a 13-4 finale and a 35-33 record overall.