Molina rumbles to history with rare triple
Reputation aside, catcher legs out three-bagger to finish cycle
BOSTON -- Nothing about Friday's game against the Red Sox was conventional for Bengie Molina.
Notorious as one of the slower players in the Major Leagues, that didn't stop the Rangers catcher from hitting for the cycle.
Collecting a single in the second inning, a double in the fourth, a grand slam in the fifth and a triple in the eighth, Molina became the first catcher since Chad Moeller on April 27, 2004, to hit for the cycle.
"He had a [great] game," third baseman Michael Young said. "Our guys were in shock. We tried to map out what he could do to get a triple.
"Bengie is a really great big league player, and unfortunately, people seem to dwell on his lack of speed. Everyone in the big leagues has a weakness, and that just happens to be his. He hustles all of the time, and he deserved it and had a [great] game. It is one of the best games of his career."
The Texas catcher did have some luck on his side, when he hit a double in the fourth off the glove of right fielder J.D. Drew and a triple in the eighth off the glove of center fielder Eric Patterson.
As Molina chugged around second and into third for that elusive triple in his last at-bat of the night, his teammates were yelling from the dugout to go three.
"Bengie's triple really only would have happened at Fenway; any other ballpark it really doesn't have time to rattle around out there, because it is so big," Young said. "It was fun to watch."
|"Nothing is predictable in the game. Things just happen. I'd put my head in a tree trimmer betting that he won't hit a triple."|
|-- David Ortiz|
"It is a once-in-a-lifetime thing," center fielder Josh Hamilton said. "Bengie isn't the fastest, but he squared a lot of balls up tonight and swung the bat well. It was exciting as a teammate to be a part of that. It always comes unexpectedly."
Molina's triple in the eighth was the sixth of his career, making him the fifth Rangers player to hit for the cycle, and the first since second baseman Ian Kinsler did it April 14, 2009, at home against the Baltimore Orioles.
|Miguel Tejada||Oakland A's||9/29/2001|
|Jimmie Foxx||Philadelphia A's||8/14/1933|
|Bill Terry||N.Y. Giants||5/29/1928|
|Nap Lajoie||Philadelphia A's||7/30/1901|
"I would have bet everything I owned that Bengie Molina would never hit for the cycle in his career -- ever," Kinsler said. "Just the whole way it went down with the grand slam and everyone knowing he needed a triple to hit for the cycle, obviously we doubted it, and having him chug around second was pretty incredible."
Even when younger brother, Yadier, heard the news in St. Louis, he was surprised.
"He got a triple? Wow," Molina said. "That is awesome. Awesome for him."
Molina's four hits matched a career high for the 17th time, the previous one while with the San Francisco Giants. He has now gone deep in back-to-back games, matching the longest streak of his career, which he last did in August 2009 with the Giants.
Even after the game in the Red Sox's clubhouse, fellow big man David Ortiz had much of the same reaction as Kinsler.
"What can I tell you? I tell people that they think they know everything about the game," Ortiz said. "Nothing is predictable in the game. Things just happen. I'd put my head in a tree trimmer betting that he won't hit a triple. That's crazy, man."
Quinn Roberts is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.