09/19/2002 2:53 AM ET
Colbrunn gets first-ever cycle
By Rich Draper / MLB.com
SAN DIEGO -- When Greg Colbrunn sauntered into the Diamondbacks' clubhouse after a postgame TV interview, he was given a surprisingly cold -- practically freezing -- reception by his teammates, including the, uh, cold shoulder.
Greg Colbrunn (center) is congratulated by teammates after hitting for the cycle Wednesday night. (AP)
This after hitting for the cycle, driving in four runs, going 5-for-6 with two homers in Arizona's 10-3 romp over the San Diego Padres on Wednesday night.
Chilly welcome? Icy was more like it, as Colbrunn was almost drowned in a deluge of cold beer and two buckets full of ice water by the D-Backs following the 10-year veteran's first-ever professional cycle and a career-high five hits.
The 33-year-old "Colby" is hitting .327 this season over 65 games, and he feasted on nothing but fastballs for the historic contest in which he helped awaken some slumbering Arizona bats and showed he's gearing up for the playoffs.
Not that it matters to this dirt-around-the-collar player, who tries to make every at-bat count.
"Colby has a lightning-quick bat and he's just a pure hitter," said manager Bob Brenly. "That's what he does -- righties, lefties, off-speed pitches, fastballs. He lives to swing the bat. One constant is it doesn't matter what the situation is. If you throw the ball over the plate, Colby will hit it, whether it's in Spring Training or Game 7 of the World Series."
Colbrunn had, in sequence: a single, strikeout, homer, double, homer ... then, with only a triple to earn the coveted cycle, boomed a high fly to the right-field corner that dropped just out of reach of outfielder Gene Kingsale.
The first baseman isn't a sprinter, but his legs were churning furiously as he headed for third base, one thought on his mind: Reach it.
Colbrunn did, and the dugout was whooping and yelling, even if the ballplayer standing on the base only smiled. Inside, he was a Little Leaguer again, having fun.
"I'm not going to kid you, I enjoyed it," said Colbrunn. "And that reception was awesome and unexpected. That ice was cold, real cold. I'll take the memory for what it is, just a memory of the game and look back on the season and remember what I did. But, tomorrow we'll be back trying to win."
Brenly marveled at the part-time pinch-hitter, part-time starter, who has been a mainstay all season.
"We were joking that for Colby to hit for the cycle he'd have to miss home plate on purpose so it would be ruled a triple," said the skipper. "I've seen a few cycles in my days, but when you have to get the triple the last time up that's the least likely, especially for a guy like Colby.
"He hit it in the exactly the right spot. I didn't even look at (third base coach Eddie Rodriguez). I don't think Colby would have stopped if we had put a barricade at second base."
Also in the Arizona clubhouse enjoying the moment was starting pitcher Rick Helling, who notched his first win after compiling an 0-3 mark with three no-decisions in his last six games, and only one victory the past 13 outings.
Often the victim of low run support, the right-hander was happy to look at the scoreboad and see double-digits on the D-Backs' side. It wasn't the prettiest of performances for Helling, but it was a long-awaited victory.
"Runs haven't happened much for me lately," said Helling, "but tonight the guys scored a bunch of runs and played good defense behind me. The last two or three weeks we haven't been playing that great, but with Randy (Johnson) and Curt (Schilling) rolling, we should finish up strong and get the division clinched."
With the victory, the Diamondbacks' magic number is five as they head into Thursday afternoon's game at Qualcomm Stadium, hoping to win the series before moving on to Colorado Friday.
Big Unit's big month: Call him Mr. September. Thursday's starting pitcher Randy Johnson (22-5) has been spectacular during that month every year since 1993. His stats: 26-1, 2.09 ERA, 384 strikeouts in 275 2/3 innings, seven complete games and three shutouts.
Rich Draper is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.