Perez Hits for the Cycle, Rockies Beat Cardinals
Mark McGwire was supposed to supply the power this weekend in Colorado. Instead, the hometown Rockies have restored the electricity at Coors Field in Denver.
Neifi Perez hit for the cycle, completing it with a tiebreaking home run in the seventh inning that lifted Colorado to a 5-2 win Saturday over slumping McGwire and the St. Louis Cardinals.
Perez doubled in the first, tripled in the third, reached on a bunt single in the fifth and capped it with his eighth homer of the year. His hitting led the Rockies to their season-high fifth consecutive win.
“When you have the opportunity to win the game like that, you have to be happy about it,” said Perez, who earned his first major league curtain call. “I got good contact on the ball. I never tried to hit a home run. I just wanted a blooper.”
Perez became the first player to hit for the cycle in the majors since teammate Dante Bichette did it June 10 against Texas. The Rockies are the first team to have two players hit for the cycle in the same season since George Brett and Frank White did it for the 1979 Kansas City Royals.
“That was neat to watch. It was really cool,” Bichette said. “He had a big game. He was the story today. That was great.”
McGwire went 0 for two to extend his hitless streak to 15 at-bats. He walked in the first and sixth, flied out to the 395-foot mark in left-center field in the third, and flied out to shallow right in the fifth.
“I’d like everybody to try and hit what I see every day,” McGwire said. “Nobody ever takes that into account. If everybody is batting where I’m batting and seeing what I see, they’re not going to get many hits.”
Though he remains on pace to hit 68 homers, McGwire has not hit one in his last five games.
San Diego 6, Houston 5--Trevor Hoffman tied the major league record by converting his 41st consecutive save opportunity and Greg Vaughn hit his 37th home run at San Diego.
Hoffman pitched a hitless ninth to match the mark of 41 in a row set by San Francisco’s Rod Beck from 1993-95. Hoffman, whose streak began last year, has been successful of 32 straight chances this season.
Vaughn homered for the seventh time in nine games. He tied Chicago’s Sammy Sosa for second in the NL, six behind St. Louis’ Mark McGwire.
Cincinnati 9, San Francisco 8--Willie Greene hit a three-run homer and Bret Boone added a solo shot as the Reds rallied at San Francisco to end an eight-game losing streak.
The Reds scored five runs in the fifth inning and four more in the sixth.
Cincinnati overcame J.T. Snow’s first-inning grand slam and Jeff Kent’s two-run homer in the ninth. Kent homered twice and drove in seven runs Friday night in the Giants’ 12-2 win over the Reds.
Chicago 3, New York 2--Pinch-hitter Glenallen Hill’s two-run homer in the eighth inning led the Cubs at Chicago, ending the Mets’ six-game winning streak.
Hill swung away on a 3-0 pitch from John Franco (0-5) and hit it over the center-field wall.
Pittsburgh 4, Atlanta 1--Turner Ward hit a bizarre inside-the-park home run that bounced off home plate as the Pirates beat the Braves for only the second time in eight games at Pittsburgh.
The Pirates led, 2-1, with two outs in the seventh inning when Ward, pinch-hitting for Mark Smith, hit a ball off the plate that careened up the middle past second baseman Tony Graffanino, then past center fielder Andruw Jones.
Milwaukee 4, Montreal 3--Jeromy Burnitz’s second homer of the game, a solo shot with one out in the bottom of the ninth, gave the Brewers the victory at Milwaukee.
The homers were Burnitz’s team-leading 23rd and 24th.
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The Last Five
The last five players to hit for the cycle:
NEIFI PERE: Colorado
Saturday: vs. St. Louis
DANTE BICHETTE: Colorado
June 10, 1998: vs. Texas
MIKE BLOWERS: Oakland
May 18, 1998: vs. Baltimore
JOHN OLERUD: N.Y. Mets
Sept. 11, 1997: vs. Montreal
ALEX RODRIGUEZ: Seattle
June 6, 1997: vs. Detroit