06/24/2003 3:24 PM ET
Wilkerson hits for the cycle
Becomes the first player to turn the trick this year
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
Players who have hit for the cycle, all-time
Brad Wilkerson breaks from the batter's box after hitting a triple during the sixth inning Tuesday. (AP)
MONTREAL -- Expos left-fielder Brad Wilkerson hit for the cycle against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday afternoon at Olympic Stadium. In the game, he went 4-for-4 with four RBIs in the Expos' 6-4 win.
Wilkerson is the fourth player in history to hit for the cycle on June 24. Dave Winfield did it with the Angels against the Royals in 1991, Bob Watson pulled the trick in 1977 with the Astros against the Giants and the Pirates'
Arky Vaughan did it against the Dodgers in 1933.
Wilkerson is the first Expo since Rondell White in 1995 to hit for the cycle. White collected his four hits against the Giants in San Francisco. Overall, the Expos now have five players -- Wilkerson, White, Tim Foli, Chris Speier and Tim Raines -- who have pulled the trick in their history.
Wilkerson bunted down the third-base line for a base hit and doubled off Bucs starter Jeff D'Amico in the second and fifth innings, respectively. In the sixth, he tripled in two runs off Joe Beimel, and hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning off Salomon Torres.
Wilkerson was able to bunt for a base hit because coach Manny Acta told him that third baseman Aramis Ramirez played deep the previous game.
"I was thinking about doing it last night in my last at-bat, but we had a three-run lead so I said, 'We'll save it and see what happens tomorrow.' I saw the opportunity to do it early in the game today and I took advantage of it."
Wilkerson became the first player to hit for the cycle in 2003, as well as the first to hit for the cycle in order -- single, double, triple and home run -- since Jose Valentin on April 27, 2000.
Said manager Frank Robinson, "What can I say? It was an outstanding day. You don't see a guy hit for the cycle everyday. We needed that effort from somebody today and we got it from him. That's just a tremendous achievement."
"You have to have some luck with something like that. It just happens sometimes," Wilkerson said.
"Doing it in the big leagues is just a very special moment for me, but I'm just glad to contribute and help this team win a ballgame today," Wilkerson added.
Wilkerson admitted that he was taking a new approach to day games. After all, before Tuesday's action, he was hitting .220 with just one home run and 11 RBIs in daylight.
Wilkerson decided to wake up earlier than usual and get to the ballpark ahead of schedule. He then ate a hot turkey sandwich with melted cheese on wheat bread. Expos chef James Manitta put the sandwich together.
"I'd never give up on James. He must have put a good spice on the sandwich today or something," Wilkerson joked. "I've been putting some pressure on myself to try to do better during day games. After last night's game, it's tough. I just tried to get here and get up for the game a little bit early -- not peak too soon, but try to get my body moving a little bit better."
After the game, Expos second baseman Jose Vidro and his double-play partner, Orlando Cabrera, expressed their delight for Wilkerson's accomplishments.
"I was happy to see Wilkerson hit for the cycle," Vidro said. "He came through in a big clutch situation. It's always good when they walk a guy and the guy behind you does the job. It was a perfect day. They pitched around me and they wanted to get to him and he made them pay. He's getting better every day."
"It was awesome," Cabrera said. "Everyday somebody steps up and does something to help the team. That's the way we have to look at it. Brad has been consistent all year. If we need help on offense, it's going to be his bat. That's a good accomplishment by him and he's got to keep going. He's got to keep working hard and keep getting RBIs and doubles."
Wilkerson is now hitting .306 with nine home runs and 41 RBIs.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.