The Indians' Jake Bauers hit for the cycle when he needed to the most

Mark TownsendYahoo Sports Contributor

There’s never a bad time to hit for the cycle.

But for Jake Bauers of the Cleveland Indians, there was never a better time than Friday night.

The struggling designated hitter is fighting to protect his roster spot after being mentioned as a potential demotion candidate. That conversation came before his big game in Friday’s 13-4 win against the Detroit Tigers.

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Manager Terry Francona then offered a verbal vote of confidence before penciling the .209 hitter into his lineup.

Bauers paid his manager’s confidence back by producing his best game of the season and the Indians first cycle since Rajai Davis in 2016.

Bauers started his big night with a run-scoring double in the second inning. In the Indians eight-run fourth inning, he knocked two hits off the list. First he singled, then he knocked in another run with a triple. That set the stage for a dramatic finish.

Needing a homer to complete the cycle, Bauers first struck out in the seventh inning. He got another chance in the eighth inning and delivered, launching a two-run blast into the seats.

Go ahead and smile, Jake. You deserve it.

Bauers, 23, was acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays in a massive three-team offseason trade that also included the Seattle Mariners. Carlos Santana and Edwin Encarnacion were the biggest names moved in that deal.

He’s yet to live up to some pretty high hopes offensively, which is why the Indians might be considering other options. The team has struggled to stay above .500 all season and have little margin for error if they hope to catch the Minnesota Twins. Cleveland entered Friday trailing Minnesota by 11 games.

Bauers’ cycle is the third already in MLB this season. On Thursday, Los Angeles Angels DH Shohei Ohtani became the first Japanese-born player to hit for the cycle. That gives us this interesting tidbit.

Jorge Polanco of the Minnesota Twins completed the first cycle on April 5 against the Philadelphia Phillies.

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