Guillen happy to complete cycle
Shortstop became the third player in 2006 to complete the cycle
ST. PETERSBURG -- As Carlos Guillen rounded first and set his eyes on second, Sean Casey couldn't contain himself.
"I jumped up and I was like, 'Run!'" Casey said. "If he didn't go for second, I was going to go out there and tackle him."
Of course, it was no ordinary hit Guillen was trying to stretch into an eighth-inning double. It was the last stat he needed to check off in his quest for the famed hitter's cycle on Tuesday night. And he got it, just barely toeing the bag ahead of the throw, and rising to a raucous applause from both the stands and his own dugout.
"It was awesome, we were like part of the crowd," Casey said. "Everyone was excited. That's a great moment, man. Any time you see a teammate hit for the cycle, it's pretty cool."
Guillen was a little more reserved than Casey, but eventually conceded that, "It felt pretty good. Inside, I was feeling pretty good."
The Detroit shortstop got what most consider the most difficult leg of the cycle -- a triple -- out of the way during his first at-bat. After Detroit batted around off Rays starter J.P. Howell during the five-run second inning, Guillen led off the third with his 13th homer of the season, driving a 1-0 pitch 374 feet into the left-field bleachers. After lining out to left field in the fourth, he singled in the sixth, leaving one at-bat to take care of business. A safe bet would've been to stay at first, but Guillen wanted it. Bad.
"And that's OK," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "It's something not a lot of guys have done, so I think that's something for later on, when you get done playing, you probably have that in your memory bank."
Known for mostly using everyone's bats but his own, Guillen said he used teammate Dmitri Young's bat for his first two at-bats, Magglio Ordonez's for his third, and yes, his own, for the last two. He's not sure which one he'll stick with in the future.
"[I use my own bats] sometimes, but just not every day," he smiled.
With Guillen's eighth-inning double, he became the first Tiger to hit for the cycle since Damion Easley did it on June 8, 2001, against Milwaukee, and the first to do it on the road since George Kell at Philadelphia in 1950. Guillen is just the 10th player in Detroit history to hit for the cycle, but it's been done two other times in the Major Leagues this season, by the Mets' Jose Reyes (June 21 against Cincinnati) and Houston's Luke Scott (July 28 against Arizona). Before Tuesday night, the American League had not seen a cycle game since August 2004, when the Rangers' Mark Teixeira completed the task against Cleveland.
Leyland said without playing favorites, he still knows Guillen is something special.
"I think when you start singling guys out as being a little more special than somebody else, that's a mistake and I don't believe in that," Leyland said. "We need all 25 guys if we're going to compete. [But] is Carlos Guillen one of my favorites? Absolutely. He's more of a veteran guy that knows how to play the game. He's a professional player and a professional person.
"I think good things happen to good people, and he's good people."
Dawn Klemish is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.