It is rare to hit for the cycle in baseball, but a player unknowingly accomplishing it adds an extra element of excitement. Baltimore Orioles second baseman Jonathan Villar came up to bat on Monday night in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Yankees unaware that with a single the would hit for the cycle, and managed to do it anyway.
Villar’s final plate appearance rounded out the night, giving him a triple, double, home run and single, in that order. Villar started the night with a strikeout but was moving the ball after that.
The dugout kept quiet on the matter before Villar was headed up for his final at bat, and he only realized he completed the cycle when first-base coach Arnie Beyeler told him the news after the ninth inning single. “Everybody didn’t say anything because when you say something, maybe you miss it,” Villar said. “When the first base coach told me, I was like, ‘Really?’ It’s the same rule as when a pitcher throws a no-hitter. Nobody says anything.”
Villar became just the fifth Oriole in franchise history to add a cycle to his resume. Brooks Robinson, Cal Ripken Jr., Aubrey Huff, and Felix Pie round out the list of Orioles to accomplish the feat. Also, it was the 329th cycle in MLB history, making it slightly more common than a no-hitter, with 302 of them thrown.
Villar’s efforts were not enough to secure a win against the New York Yankees, who beat the home team 9-6. The Yankees snatched a bit of history of their own during the game, reaching 32 home runs in eight games at Camden Yards this year, a new MLB record for home runs in a visiting park in a single season with two games still to play in Baltimore. The old record stood at 29 runs and was set by the Milwaukee braves at Cincinnati’s Crosley Field in 1957.