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D-Backs ride Colbrunn's cycle past Padres

9/19/2002

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The chances of Greg Colbrunn hitting a triple to complete the cycle were so remote that some of his Arizona Diamondbacks teammates joked that he should have missed the plate after his second home run.

Colbrunn then shocked everyone when he tripled into the right-field corner in the ninth inning, completing his first career cycle and leading the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 10-3 win over the San Diego Padres on Wednesday night.

"What are the odds of me hitting a triple? I was up there trying to take advantage of another at-bat,'' Colbrunn said after his teammates gave him a shower of beer and ice water.

Going into that last inning, Colbrunn had only 10 triples in
2,665 career at-bats.

The defending World Series champion Diamondbacks reduced their magic number to five for clinching their second straight NL West title.

Colbrunn was the first player to hit for the cycle and hit two
homers since Hall of Famer George Brett did it May 28, 1979, in a
16-inning game against Baltimore.

"I've seen a few cycles in my days, but when you have to get the triple your last time up, that's the least likely cycle, especially for a guy like Colby, who doesn't run particularly well,'' manager Bob Brenly said. "But he hit it in the right spot.

"We were all screaming, 'Go, go, go,' from the dugout. I don't think Colby would have stopped if we'd have put a barricade out there at second base. He was going to try for three and I was really happy to see him make it.''

Colbrunn went 5-for-6 to set a career high and tie a club record for hits. With one out in the ninth, he lofted a fly ball that landed just inside the right-field line and bounced off the auxiliary scoreboard. He chugged into third, well ahead of the throw.

"I was running,'' Colbrunn said. "It was going to be like Little League, keep running until I got to third. I got halfway there and it was like, 'Oh, God, just try to make it there.''

Colbrunn singled and scored in the first inning, struck out in
the third, hit a 406-foot, two-run homer in the fourth, doubled and
scored in the sixth, then hit his second two-run homer in the
seventh.

It was his first career cycle and the second in Diamondbacks history. The first was by Luis Gonzalez on July 5, 2000, at Houston.

Matt Williams hit a solo shot in the fourth, and Rick Helling
(9-11) won for the first time in seven starts.

Arizona won for just the second time in eight games in San Diego
this year.

Padres rookie lefty Oliver Perez (3-4) saw his winless streak
reach eight starts. The 20-year-old left-hander had nothing on his
fastball, and it cost him in the fourth.

Williams hit a leadoff homer deep into the seats in left field
on an 88 mph fastball, and Colbrunn reached the seats in
left-center on an 87-mph pitch with two outs.

With one out, Perez issued consecutive walks to Damian Miller
and Alex Cintron before striking out Helling. Quinton McCracken hit
a two-run double to left before Colbrunn homered.

Arizona added two runs off two rookie relievers in the sixth,
one when Damian Miller drew a bases-loaded walk from Mike Bynum.
Gonzalez had an RBI single.

"That was an ugly game,'' Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. "We
played terrible on defense and didn't swing the bat well.''

Helling hadn't won since Aug. 13 at Cincinnati. Since then, he
had three losses and three no-decisions. He allowed three runs and
nine hits in 5 2-3 innings, struck out four and walked two.

Perez allowed six runs, five earned, in four innings. It was the
first time in 13 starts he failed to go five innings. He struck out
six and walked four.

Colbrunn singled in the first and scored on first baseman Ryan
Klesko's throwing error on a double-play attempt, the second Padres
error in the inning.

Gene Kingsale had an RBI double and Wiki Gonzalez an RBI
groundout in the sixth to chase Helling. San Diego's other run
scored on a double play in the fourth.

Game notes
The Padres have never had a player hit for the cycle, in
5,351 games. ... Randy Johnson will try to extend his 10-1 lifetime
record against San Diego when he starts the series finale Thursday
afternoon. Johnson's only career regular-season loss to the Padres
came in San Diego on July 21, when he allowed eight runs and eight
hits in five innings. Since then, Johnson beat the Padres twice,
both in Arizona. ... Padres 3B Phil Nevin tumbled hard into the
third-base photo well chasing Gonzalez's foul ball in the sixth and
banged his shin on a chair. Nevin singled leading off the sixth and
was lifted for pinch-runner Julius Matos.