Buxton's big day: 5 hits, flirtation with cycle

April 28th, 2021

In just his second start as a leadoff hitter this season, center fielder used five at-bats against the Indians to build one of the best days of his career, thanks to his power in the batter’s box and speed on the basepaths.

Buxton notched a career-high five hits in Wednesday's 10-2 win over the Indians at Progressive Field, surpassing the four hits he recorded on Aug. 27, 2017, at Toronto.

His speed also caused trouble for the Indians, as he legged out an infield single in his fourth at-bat to keep his career day intact, and also stole second base without a throw.

“I mean, anyone that’s watching is probably pretty amazed at what they’re seeing,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “It’s something that ... we’ve seen before from him, but he looks fantastic. He leads in a lot of ways, and you really get a chance to see it when he’s going out there playing like that.”

Buxton’s first hit was a home run to right field on the second pitch of the game. His second hit came in the following inning, a double to left field with the Twins ahead, 4-0, thanks to homers from Josh Donaldson and Jorge Polanco in the first inning.

The cycle watch started in the fourth, when Buxton hit a soft line-drive single through the hole on the right side of the infield for his third hit of the day. He added a single in the sixth, then had another chance to collect the three-bagger in the eighth inning.

His fifth and final at-bat resulted in a sharp ground ball that skipped between the shortstop and second baseman. It wasn’t enough to attempt a triple, as the lead runner stopped at third, but it did further showcase Buxton's intensity.

“Buck always plays hard, and he runs hard, and he always gives himself an opportunity to make something happen regardless of the score,” Baldelli said. “So, I think on a different ball, he’s going to go hard, and if he gets a triple, he gets a triple.”

The 5-for-5 day also marked Buxton’s seventh multihit game of the season and his second go at the cycle. He flirted with the cycle earlier this season, falling a homer shy in a 3-for-4 day against the Seattle Mariners on April 11.

“It didn't really hit me until my last at-bat [that I was hitting for the cycle]. As I'm walking up, I hear this little kid, 'All you need is a triple.' I'm like, 'That is true,'" Buxton said. “I was good, because I wasn't thinking about it, none of that. And then I got up there and I'm like, 'The only way you're getting it is if you hitting this to right-center.' It's just a little bit shorter around the edges,”

Buxton was named YouTube’s Player of the Game, as his five hits and stolen base helped propel the Twins to their first win in five games.

“I've had fun the past few years. But even though we're going through what we're going through, it's teaching us, helping us grow,” Buxton said regarding his positive attitude during the Twins' rough stretch. “It's not fun, but you've got to take the positives out of the past four weeks. It's just me going out there and doing what I've got to do to help the team win. At the end of the day, that's the bigger picture.”