The Houston Astros haven't had many positives during their first season in the American League, but outfielder Brandon Barnes' penchant for the spectacular has to be at or near the top.
With a double in the eighth inning off of Seattle Mariners reliever Danny Farquhar, Barnes completed his first career cycle Friday night in Houston:
Barnes, who went 5-for-5 with two RBI and three runs scored, had the second cycle of the 2013 season. Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels did so on May 21—also against the Mariners. Barnes is the first Astro to hit for the cycle since Luke Scott in 2006, and the eighth in franchise history. Houston has nine total cycles since its inception, with Cesar Cedeno being the only player to hit for two.
The 27-year-old rookie started out his historic day in the second inning, belting a solo home run to center field off Mariners starter Joe Saunders, who went 5.1 innings and gave up three runs. Barnes came back to the dish in the bottom of the fourth, spraying a triple around the cavernous Minute Maid Park outfield to score Justin Maxwell and bring Houston to within two runs of the red-hot Mariners offense.
While Seattle pulled away between his second and third at-bats, Barnes was still able to keep his quest going in the sixth, getting one last hit off Saunders before the left-hander was sent to the showers. With only one chance to lock up his cycle, Barnes hit groundball double became key when Brett Wallace belted a two-run home run to bring the Astros within a 9-6 margin of Seattle.
Barnes latter added a single, becoming the first player since B.J. Upton in 2009 to have five hits in his cycle game, per ESPN Stats & Info:
Brandon Barnes: 1st player with 5 hits and a cycle in same game since B.J. Upton in 2009— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 20, 2013
Drafted in the sixth round of the 2006 draft by Houston, Barnes has had an up-and-down campaign thus far. An excellent defensive center fielder, Barnes is hitting .250 with five home runs and 21 RBI after Friday's 10-7 loss. His biggest major league accomplishment prior was the Astros' first walk-off hit of the season on May 27—a 12th-inning double against the Colorado Rockies.
Since moving out the NL Central, the Astros have struggled mightily to find their footing. They are the worst team in MLB with a 33-62 record, sitting 23 games out of the AL West lead. While hitting for the cycle is a nice moment for Barnes and his teammates, it will also give Houston fans hope for the future.
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