Houston Astros rookie Brandon Barnes has made a few waves this season for his defense, even trumping Mike Trout in a game at Minute Maid Park back in June. On Friday night, Barnes showed that he has some offensive skills as well, joining the same Mike Trout as only the second player in Major League Baseball to hit for the cycle this season.
Barnes, 27, entered play on Friday with a .232 batting average in 234 at-bats, but raised that to .250 with a perfect 5 for 5 night hitting out of the seventh spot in Bo Porter's batting order. He started his journey into the history book with a solo home run in the second inning, and then followed with an RBI triple in the fourth, a single in the sixth, before finishing with a double in the eighth that looked like it could have been called either way.
In this case, the call goes to Barnes, so it's officially a cycle. A pretty darn efficient cycle, too, as he did in his first four at-bats. Then in his fifth and final at-bat in the ninth inning, he singled and scored his third run just for good measure. Oh, and also because Houston needed it since they still managed to lose to the Mariners, 10-7, behind a five RBI night from their own rookie, Brad Miller.
As for a couple historical notes and tidbits on Barnes' cycle:
• Barnes becomes the eighth Astro to hit for the cycle overall and the first since Luke Scott on July 28, 2006 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
• According to ESPN Stats & Info, he's the first player with five hits and a cycle in same game since B.J. Upton Oct. 2, 2009.
It's probably worth mentioning this is also Houston's first cycle since moving to the American League this season. I say that because for some of us, it's still difficult to remember that they have, in fact, moved to the AL.
In a season — and quite frankly an extended period in franchise history — short on highlights, Barnes has really stepped up to give Astros fans some memorable moments in 2013. Given the team's lack of success and relevance in the standings, his cycle may only serve as a footnote 15-20 years down the road, but in the here and now and under the current circumstances, it's a celebration worth enjoying to the fullest — even in defeat.