08/14/09 11:37 PM ET
Pie hits triple to complete cycle for O's
Outfielder just fourth in team history to accomplish feat
By Spencer Fordin / MLB.com
Felix Pie etched a line in the Orioles' record book Friday, when he became just the fourth player in franchise history to hit for the cycle. Pie doubled in the first inning, hit a solo home run in the third and then singled and tripled in Baltimore's seven-run seventh inning in a 16-6 win over the Angels.
"Unbelievable," said Pie. "I'll never forget this game. When I got to the dugout, they hugged me. Good feeling."
It may have been literally unbelievable for Pie, who didn't even know what he had done until he was told by third-base coach Juan Samuel. Pie reacted jubilantly to the achievement -- the seventh cycle this season and the 290th in the history of the game -- and was rewarded with a staredown from Angels manager Mike Scioscia.
Pie made sure to apologize to Scioscia and the Angels during his interaction with the media, but both Samuel and hitting coach Terry Crowley said the youngster could be forgiven for his bout of excitement.
"He doesn't get to play a whole lot, and achieving what he did tonight is very exciting," said Samuel."He didn't know the situation of the game and that there are certain things you don't do. He doesn't know any better. I have plans to talk to Mike Scioscia, because I'd hate to see them do something to retaliate. I know Mike. We played together, and I'm sure he'll understand. I'll try to calm him down a little, but Mike was staring at him."
"You can't begrudge a young kid his emotion when he hits for the cycle," added Crowley. "I don't think Scioscia realized that it was the fourth hit of a cycle. Had it not been, you don't want to carry on and act like that and rub it in the other team's face. But that was an emotional moment, a once in a lifetime deal. That's exactly what it was."
Pie, who rarely starts for the Orioles, got in the lineup because of an illness for Luke Scott. Pie made an error in the first inning, but then the youngster set about his historic night. Pie doubled in a run as part of Baltimore's six-run first inning, and he made it a 7-2 game with a home run to right field in the third.
Pie struck out in the fourth inning and ignited Baltimore's seven-run rally with an infield single in the seventh. He later tripled into the right-center gap, capping the team's decisive inning. Pie's cycle was the first since Aubrey Huff did it in 2007, and the pair joined Cal Ripken and Brooks Robinson in the Orioles' record book.
And when Pie got to third base after his triple, Samuel took the time to explain to him what he'd done. Pie didn't realize why the crowd was cheering as loud as it did, a fact Samuel found hard to believe.
"He was like, 'I don't know,'" said Samuel. "So I said, 'Well, you've got a double, you've got a triple now, you've had a home run and a single. You hit for the cycle.' And he said, 'Really?' "
"He doesn't know," added Crowley, who has worked with Pie all season. "When I gave him the ball after the game, he said, 'Thanks. Sign it.' And I said, 'No, you don't want me to sign this ball. This is for you.' I said, 'There's been more no-hitters in baseball than cycles.' And he looked at me. Then I said, 'I'm going to get somebody to write something nice on here for you.' Maybe in the next few days he'll understand exactly what it was he did."
The cycle actually narrowly outpaces no-hitters, with a recent burst to thank for that. Six other players have hit for the cycle this season -- including three in the month of August -- and there have been just 282 no-hitters in history. Whatever the exact number, Crowley lauded Pie for his effort in a trying season.
"That kid has worked every day," Crowley said. "Every day, without missing any time, he just comes in and works. And he went a long span without getting to play because other guys were playing good. But he just kept working and working. It's to his credit. We know he's got some ability, and tonight was a game he'll never forget."
Several other Orioles had big games in the rout, and shortstop Cesar Izturis came within a home run of his own cycle. Manager Dave Trembley noted that fact and got a quick quip in at the infielder's expense.
"They've got those guys in here doing the drug testing lately," he said. "They'd probably ask to do that and check [Izturis'] bat. But he told me he was going to have a big series. It's his turn to turn the tables on his brother [Angels infielder Maicer, who hit for the cycle earlier this month]. His brother kind of one-upped him there, so he's trying to do that here. That was fun tonight. Gosh, that was fun."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.