05/27/2004 3:06 AM ET
Ward makes history with cycle
By Ed Eagle / MLB.com
|Daryle Ward swings at a pitch during the third inning Wednesday. (Bill Boyce/AP)
ST. LOUIS -- A little more than two weeks ago, first baseman Daryle Ward was in Triple-A hoping to work his way back to the big leagues. Wednesday in St. Louis, the Pirates slugger helped make Major League history.
With his 4-for-5 night in the Bucs' 11-8 win over the Cardinals, Ward joined his father, Gary, as the first father and son combination to hit for the cycle in the big leagues. Gary hit for the cycle on Sept. 18, 1980 for the Twins.
After collecting a double, walk, triple and home run in his first four at-bats, Ward was just a single short of the feat when he popped out to third base to end the seventh inning.
"I was hoping to get one more shot," said Ward. "I had a conversation with (Cardinals outfielder Jim) Edmonds at first base and he said he was praying for me to get one. I want to thank him for that. I thought that was pretty cool."
Edmonds' prayers were answered when the Pirates put three runners on base in the eighth inning to assure Ward of another at-bat in the ninth. This time, Ward made the most of his opportunity.
Down 0-2 in the count, after fouling off a pair of pitches from Cardinals reliever Steve Kline, Ward bounced a high chopper over the head of first baseman Albert Pujols for his fourth hit of the night.
"It was one of the craziest base hits I've ever gotten," Ward said. "I was pretty happy to get it. I don't get too many high choppers over infielder's heads."
For Ward, who has batted .380 with six home runs and 16 RBIs in 12 games since being recalled from Triple-A Nasheville on May 11, it was one of those nights when every bounce seemed to go his way.
In the fourth inning, a soggy outfield, the result of two consecutive days of rain, contributed to Ward's first triple since Sept. 30, 2000. On a hard hit to right field, Reggie Sanders had trouble with his traction and had to make a late jump towards the ball. It bounced off his glove and rolled around long enough for Ward to reach third base standing.
"(Ward) really crushed that ball," said Sanders. "I was trying to get a bead on it, and it just kept rising. Then I tried to jump up to catch it and I wasn't able to retrieve it."
"I need a lot of things to happen for me to get a triple," the 6-foot-1, 245-pound Ward said with a sheepish smile. "It worked out perfect for a guy with my speed."
Each of Ward's four hits was instrumental in the Pirates' win. His two-run double in the first inning snapped the Bucs' 0-for-27 slump with runners in scoring position. His three-run home run in the fifth provided their ninth and decisive run.
"I'm seeing the ball well, getting good wood on it and trying not to do too much," Ward said. "It was good to be able to contribute."
Ward is the first Pirate to hit for the cycle since Jason Kendall completed the feat on May 19, 2000 against St. Louis at Three Rivers Stadium.
Ed Eagle is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.