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|Hoffpauir hits for cycle|
Jarrett Hoffpauir was thinking Sunday was not going to be a good day at all when he took the field for the Las Vegas 51s, the triple-A farm team for the Toronto Blue Jays.
"I really wasn't feeling very good, and I was late because I was taking care of some things in the training room," Hoffpauir said. "I got out to the field late for stretching and never really got loose. And I have never done very well in day games. I was just thinking, 'Well, get out there and ride through this wave.'"
And what a ride it was.
Needing a single to become the eighth player in Las Vegas history to hit for the cycle, Hoffpauir lined a shot to left field leading off the sixth inning in the 51s' 14-11 victory over the Sacramento River Cats.
"After I hit the triple, that was the third hit, I got to third base and Rohny, our manager [Dan Rohn], said, 'Go ahead and finish it up with a single,'" Hoffpauir said. "That's when I thought about it. Luckily, I got it done early."
The 26-year-old second baseman smacked his second homer of the season with one out in the bottom of the first, then led off the third with a double and scored on a base hit by Brett Wallace. He tripled home a run and scored again in the fourth.
"It's in the back of your mind," Hoffpauir admitted. "I'd already had three hits and was just thinking about getting on base, to be honest. It was a close game going and we have some big-time hitters behind me. Whether it was a double, single or triple, I didn't care."
With only the single standing between him and Pacific Coast League history, did Hoffpauir think about bunting for a hit?
"I'm actually feeling pretty good at the plate right now. I thought I'd take my chances that way," he said. "They have a pretty good third baseman and I had two at-bats to do it, at least. I figured my best chance was to take a swing."
He figured right, taking the first pitch from reliever Fernando Hernandez into left field to become the first member of the 51s to hit for the cycle since Cody Ross on Sept. 5, 2005.
The former Pacific Coast League All-Star eventually scored on Jeremy Reed's base hit, then walked and came home again in the seventh to tie the team record with five runs scored.
"To be honest, I didn't realize it was five," said Hoffpauir, who has had seven multi-hit games at Las Vegas. "That's a first for me, too."
Pinch-hitter Brian Dopirak put an exclamation point on Hoffpauir's day when he launched a walk-off grand slam in the ninth.
"The main goal of the day is to win the ballgame. I was sitting there thinking how nice it would be if he hit a walk-off," Hoffpauir said. "And sure enough, he did."
Hoffpauir said it was his first cycle.
"The guys were talking about it in the dugout and told me to just take it in, because that's hard to do," Hoffpauir said. "It is a big-time accomplishment."
Hoffpauir was hitting .293 before the game and pushed his average to .333 with the five-hit night.
Hoffpauir joined the Blue Jays as a Minor League free agent, signing last December. Through 16 games with Las Vegas, he's hitting .333 with two homers, nine RBIs and 10 runs scored.
"I'm enjoying it here," he said. "I like the guys, I like the organization. It's a better opportunity for me. I got a lot of playing time in Spring Training and hopefully, I can play well enough to get another shot [at the Majors] here pretty soon."
Hoffpauir said the atmosphere is a lot better in Toronto.
"It's a little more laid back," he said. "It does get warm over here, but I like it. I just decided to get into the mindset of not worrying about other people or other organizations and just go out and have fun playing baseball. Things are a whole lot easier when I do that."
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