MILWAUKEE -- Father and son Jeff and Michael Richter of Oak Creek thought they'd scored a nice souvenir after an usher flipped them Christian Yelich's home run ball in the fifth inning Monday at Miller Park. An inning later, they were holding part of baseball history.Asked how he came to
MILWAUKEE -- Father and son Jeff and Michael Richter of Oak Creek thought they'd scored a nice souvenir after an usher flipped them Christian Yelich's home run ball in the fifth inning Monday at Miller Park. An inning later, they were holding part of baseball history.
Asked how he came to that realization, Michael smiled and pointed to his dad.
"When he yelled, 'CYCLE!'" Michael Richter said.
It was a bi-cycle for Yelich, who padded his National League MVP resume in the Brewers' 8-0 win over the Reds by becoming the fifth player in Major League history to hit for the cycle twice in the same season, and the first to do it twice against the same team.
Yelich also hit for the cycle as part of a six-hit night in a wild Brewers win at Great American Ball Park on Aug. 29.
Both nights, he needed a triple -- and got it.
"Off the bat, you're kind of thinking, 'No way did that just happen,'" Yelich said.
According to Elias, Yelich joined 2012 D-back Aaron Hill, 1931 Brooklyn Dodger Babe Herman, 1887 St. Louis Brown Tip O'Neill and 1883 Cincinnati Red Stocking Long John Reilly as the only players to hit for the cycle twice in a season.
Including Yelich, only 25 players since 1908 have hit for multiple cycles in their careers, and only three have done it three times: Bob Meusel, Herman and Adrian Beltre. Yelich is the third active Major Leaguer with multiple career cycles, joining Beltre (three) and Carlos Gomez (two).
Yelich is the first player in Brewers history to hit for the cycle twice in a career; it has now been accomplished nine times in franchise history. But before Monday, the only Brewer to hit for the cycle in a home game was Chad Moeller in 2004.
"I honestly don't even how how to describe it or what that feels like," Yelich said. "I don't even know if it's really set in yet. It's definitely crazy. You're trying to enjoy it as much as possible. It's nice to do it at home, too, in front of the home fans."
• Players who have hit for the cycle | Multiple cycles
He singled in the first inning, doubled in the third, hit a two-run home run in the fifth and then lined a Jesus Reyes pitch to the right-center-field gap in Milwaukee's four-run sixth to complete the feat. Yelich appeared to be thinking third all the way, making the turn at second base while the Reds relayed the baseball back to the infield for a play at the plate.
He wanted it. At 29.5 feet per second sprint speed, according to Statcast™, Yelich was moving well above his season average of 28.5 (30 feet per second is considered elite). His 10.95-second time from home to third was Yelich's fastest time since Statcast™ started tracking in 2015, and the second-fastest for any Brewer (Keon Broxton did it in 10.89 seconds on July 30, 2016).
"I was behind. I didn't realize he had the cycle," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "I was completely unaware of it. The impressive thing to me is a team holds him in check yesterday, and that seems to be a bad sign for the other team the next day."
Counsell was referring to the Pirates, who snapped Yelich's 30-game on-base streak on Sunday afternoon.
On Monday, Counsell said he had a feeling Yelich would start a new streak against the Reds.
"There was an intent that good things were going to happen," Counsell said. "When a team shuts him down the day before, it adds to it for him the next day. It's just competitiveness."
Good things have been happening a lot for Yelich. The home run off Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani was Yelich's 31st this season, his 20th since the All-Star break -- only Khris Davis of the A's (22) has more -- and his seventh this season against the Reds. Yelich leads the Majors since the break in batting average (.355), slugging percentage (.733) and OPS (1.149).
His previous high for home runs in a season was 21 for the Marlins in 2016. With 11 regular-season games to go, he has a chance to match that career mark in the second half alone.
"We haven't found a way to cool him off," said Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman. "He's an MVP candidate, so he's hot against a lot of clubs."
• NL batting leaders meet in Milwaukee
Domingo Santana also homered for the Brewers -- his second pinch-hit shot in as many days -- as Milwaukee matched its 2017 win total (86) and maintained its three-game lead atop the NL Wild Card standings while staying 2 1/2 games back of the Cubs in the NL Central, following Chicago's win at Arizona.
On the mound, Wade Miley, Josh Hader and Brandon Woodruff combined on an eight-hitter in the Brewers' 12th shutout victory this season. Hader struck out the side in the sixth, meaning he's whiffed 17 of 20 batters he's faced over his last four appearances. Woodruff covered the final three innings and was awarded his first Major League save.
Michael Richter was rewarded, too. He met Yelich at the entrance to the Brewers' clubhouse after the game and gave up the historic baseball for a handshake and a signed bat.
"That was pretty cool of him," Yelich said. "He really didn't have to do it."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Domingo goes deep: Not to be lost amid Yelich's heroics, Santana's home run came in a big spot, doubling the Brewers' lead to 2-0 in the fifth inning and sparking an outburst during which Milwaukee scored seven runs in a two-inning span. Santana has been used exclusively off the bench as a September callup and is 6-for-13 with two doubles and two homers in that role.
He's the fourth player in Brewers history to hit pinch-hit home runs in back-to-back games. The others are Taylor Green (2012), Gabe Gross (2006) and Jeromy Burnitz (1997).
"I thought Domingo's homer was huge," Counsell said. "It's a 1-0 game at that point. It's a tight game. He continues to have great at-bats."
HE SAID IT
"If he's trying to do that, and he's able to hit a ball in the gap like that, then we've got to talk about a different level of guy." -- Counsell, when it was noted that Yelich has finished both of his cycles with the rarest of hits: A triple
Chase Anderson gets the call as the Brewers try to start another series winning streak on Tuesday at 6:40 p.m. CT. It will be Anderson's 30th start this season and fourth against the Reds, whom he has held to a 2.98 ERA in 10 career starts while going 5-1. He'll have to be careful with the opposing pitcher, Michael Lorenzen, who has already smacked a pair of home runs against the Brewers this season.
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.