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Baxter Hits for First Cycle in Beavers' 13-8 Win Over Reno

June 8, 2010 - Pacific Coast League (PCL) - Portland Beavers News Release

RENO, Nev. - Mike Baxter hit for the first cycle in modern franchise history (since 2001) while going 5-for-5 with six RBIs as the Portland Beavers pounded out a season-high 20 hits in a 13-8 win over the Reno Aces at Aces Ballpark Tuesday afternoon.

Baxter hit a two-run homer off starter Kris Benson in the first inning, singled to right in the second and walked in the fourth before coming to the plate with the bases loaded in the sixth. On Jose Marte's 1-0 pitch, Baxter ripped a line drive toward the right-center field gap that Aces center fielder Doug Deeds dove for but came up empty. As Baxter rounded second and headed for third, he saw manager Terry Kennedy waving him home for the potential inside-the-park grand slam.

"I saw Deeds dive for the ball, and it's big in the right-field gap here, so I was thinking of trying to get four (bases) from the beginning. But I sort of stumbled around second base, and they made a good relay and got me at the plate."

The triple tied him with Salt Lake's Peter Bourjos for the Pacific Coast League lead with six.

Baxter had his first chance to complete the cycle in the eighth inning, but lined a single right at former teammate Drew Macias in center and admitted he could not have stretched the hit into a double. "If it happens, it happens. But you can't force it out there," said Baxter.

Due up fifth in the ninth, the Queens, New York, native still needed a double to complete the historic feat, but had no concerns that he would not get his opportunity.

"The guys were swinging it pretty well, so I thought there would be a pretty good chance I'd get up again."

With one out, Eric Munson singled and Brad Chalk doubled to left. Sean Kazmar plated Munson with a sacrifice fly to bring up Baxter with Chalk on third and two outs. He battled with reliever Daniel Stange, and on the seventh pitch of the at-bat, flared a liner down the left-field line. The left fielder Bailey tracked it down and fired the ball to second base but not in time to get Baxter, who slid in safely for the first cycle in the Beavers' 10 years back in the PCL.

The Beavers (22-36) have heated up offensively in the last week, hitting .285 in seven June contests after batting just .226 in May. This is something Baxter believes they can continue when they return to PGE Park to open a four-game series with Sacramento Thursday night.

"I think we've been swinging better in the last couple series. Hopefully we're all coming out of that offensive funk we've been in and we can carry this success back to PGE Park."

While he picked up the first cycle of his career, he was unable to record his first career inside-the-park home run.

Baxter, though, did become the first Beaver to drive in six runs in a game since Jack Cust knocked in seven against Fresno on June 16, 2006. He also joined Josh Barfield as the second Portland hitter in the last two weeks to log a five-hit game. Barfield had three singles and two doubles at Colorado Springs on May 28.

It was the fifth cycle in the PCL this season and the eighth five-hit game in the league.

For the Beavers (22-36), it was their highest hit total since tallying 24 knocks in a 17-4 win at Salt Lake on May 23, 2008. Aaron Cunningham hit a tie-breaking, two-run triple in the eighth inning as part of his 3-for-5, three-RBI day and fell just a home run shy of his own cycle. Chalk had a Triple-A career-high four hits in six at-bats while collecting his first two extra-base hits at this level with a pair of doubles on the afternoon.

Deeds and Yunesky Sanchez each went 3-for-5 with an RBI to lead the Aces (26-34), who had 15 hits on the day. Deeds had his league-leading 23rd and 24th doubles and added a triple, while Brandon Allen and the pitcher Marte both hit solo home runs.

Adam Russell (2-2) earned the win by pitching the sixth and seventh innings and conceding just a solo homer.

Reno's Jason Urquidez (2-2) took the loss, giving up three runs on five hits over two innings.

Ernesto Frieri threw two scoreless innings to earn his 12th save.

The Beavers jumped out to a 3-0 first-inning lead as they sent nine men to the plate. Benson set down the batter after Baxter's homer before allowing three straight hits, including Barfield's RBI single that plated Cunningham.

Portland tacked on a run in the second on a groundout by Craig Cooper.

Beavers starter Tim Stauffer gave up back-to-back triples to Deeds and Cole Gillespie to begin the third inning and after a walk to the rehabbing Miguel Montero, Bailey singled to center to score Gillespie.

Reno rallied for four in the fourth inning to take a 6-4 lead. Deeds hit an RBI double with one out in the inning and scored on Montero's RBI single two batters later. Bailey plated Gillespie with a sacrifice fly and Allen walked before Sanchez singled home Montero.

Marte went deep off Mike DeMark in the fifth inning.

In the sixth inning, Portland stormed back to take an 8-7 lead. Marte walked Chris Stewart and allowed one-out singles to Chalk and Kazmar to load the bases for Baxter, who ripped a line drive past the right fielder Deeds. Stewart, Chalk and Kazmar all circled the bases as Baxter was waved home. But Deeds and the second baseman Sanchez executed a perfect relay to nail Baxter at the plate and prevent the inside-the-park grand slam. Cooper followed with a double down the right-field line and Cunningham's single brought him in.

Allen belted a one-out homer to right in the bottom of the sixth off Russell to knot the game at eight.

Portland scored three runs with two outs in the eighth. Baxter started the rally with his single to center and pinch-hitter Anthony Contreras singled to left before Cunningham's tie-breaking triple to the left-center field gap. At that point, Stange relieved Urquidez and was greeted by Barfield's RBI single to left on the first pitch.

After an off-day Wednesday, the Beavers return home for a Miller Lite Thursday game against Sacramento at PGE Park at 7:05 p.m. (Pacific).

NOTES: Contreras is 3-for-6 as a pinch-hitter this season ... the Beavers matched their season high with 13 runs. They beat Fresno 13-7 on April 17 ... they also matched their season high with eight extra-base hits ... Portland had its first three-stolen base game since May 4, as Cooper and Barfield had their first steals of the season and Chalk had his second ... the veteran Benson allowed four runs on seven hits and two walks in four innings as he eyes a return to the major leagues.

Beavers Game File TUESDAY'S GAME: Beavers 13, Reno 8 WINNING PITCHER: Russell (2-2) LOSING PITCHER: Urquidez (2-2) SAVE: Frieri (12) HOME RUNS: Baxter (4), Allen (5), Marte (1) THURSDAY'S GAME: Sacramento (Travis Blackley: 1-1, 2.08) at Portland (Cesar Carrillo: 4-3, 3.94), 7:05 p.m. (Pacific); live audio broadcast on Freedom 970 AM and www.portlandbeavers.com. Follow the Beavers on Twitter (www.twitter.com/PortlandBeavers) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/OfficialPortlandBeavers).

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