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Matt Kemp's cycle leads San Diego Padres past Colorado Rockies

By
Jack Etkin, The Sports Xchange
San Diego Padres outfielder Matt Kemp warms up. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
San Diego Padres outfielder Matt Kemp warms up. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

DENVER -- Matt Kemp hit for the first cycle in San Diego Padres history Friday night. The milestone, which took seemingly forever, came in the franchise's 7,444th game and helped the Padres beat the Colorado Rockies 9-5.

Kemp, who had four RBIs, gave the Padres an early lead with a two-run homer in their three-run first. He singled in the third. And he gave the Padres a 5-4 lead with a two-out double in the seventh. Two batters later, second baseman Jedd Gyroko, who had a season-high tying four RBIs, hit a three-run homer off Rafael Betancourt to put the Padres ahead 8-4.

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Kemp came up with one out in the ninth and a runner on first and Justin Miller on the mound. Padres hitters had finished one hit shy of a cycle 361 times in their history and a triple shy of the cycle 258 times. And Kemp had finished one hit shy of the cycle on five previous occasions, most recently on Sept. 26, 2012, while playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers against the Padres and coming up a triple short.

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Kemp drove a pitch from Miller off the wall in right-center. Kemp saw the ball ricochet, and sensed he could get to third base. Kemp wasn't aware he had made franchise history. But Glen Hoffman, who is in his 10th season as the Padres' third-base coach, quickly informed Kemp he had ended a long Padres drought.

"When I slid into third base, 'Hoffy' said, 'That's the first one,' " Kemp said.

"I said, "Yeah, that is my first one.' "

"He said, 'No, that's the first one for the Padres.' "

I was like, 'Wow, it's hard to believe.' All the great hitters that have been here, Tony Gwynn and all those guys haven't been able to hit for the cycle. I'm just glad to be able to do it."

First baseman Derek Norris also homered for the Padres, who won for just the fourth time in 12 games.

The Rockies began a nine-game homestand with their fifth straight loss and eighth in the past 11 games. They fell a season-high 20 games below .500 and are 8-18 since the All-Star break.

Bud Norris (1-0), signed Tuesday by San Diego after Baltimore released him on Aug. 8, took over for starter Tyson Ross and was the winning pitcher. The loser was Ken Roberts (0-1), who was recalled Friday from Triple-A Albuquerque. He gave up the go-ahead run on Kemp's double, and Betancourt, after intentionally walking Justin Upton to get to Gyorko, was tagged with the final three runs of the inning.

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In their five straight losses, the Rockies' bullpen has allowed 18 runs, all earned, and 17 hits in 13 innings for a 12.46 ERA.

"I don't think they are tired, work-wise or innings-wise," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said of his relievers. "It's a pretty normal workload. So it's not tired arms; it's just execution."

Ross left after giving up a leadoff double to second baseman DJ LeMahieu in the sixth. LeMahieu scored to tie it at 4 on a one-out triple by left fielder Brandon Barnes, who broke an 0-for-21 slide. Barnes' routine fly ball to right center fell between center fielder Melvin Upton Jr. and Kemp.

Yohan Flande pitched a season-high six innings for the Rockies, allowing eight hits and four runs, just one after the first. Kemp hit his homer and single off Flande and then finished off his cycle against the bullpen. After nearly missing a home run but getting a record-setting triple, Kemp was greeted by Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado.

"Arenado asked me a tough question," Kemp said. "He said, 'Would you rather it be a home run or a triple?' I like home runs but that was my first cycle so I said, 'I think the cycle would be better.' We got the W, so that's all that matters as well."

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NOTES: The Miami Marlins are now the only active franchise never to have a player hit for the cycle. ... RHP Eddie Butler was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque after going 3-10 with a 5.90 ERA in two stints with the Rockies and an ineffective start Thursday at New York. ... Rockies LHP Boone Logan (left elbow inflammation) was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Wednesday. He's 0-2 with a 4.75 ERA in 48 games and allowed three inherited runners to score in each of his past two outings. ... Rockies LHP Ken Roberts was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque for his second stint this season with the Rockies. ... Rockies RHP Gonzalez Germen was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque for his second stint this season with the Rockies. ... Rockies 1B Justin Morneau took batting practice on the field for the first time since he suffered concussion symptoms and whiplash diving for a ball May 13. ... Padres INF Cory Spangenberg was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list, and LHP Frank Garces was optioned to Triple-A El Paso. Spangenberg missed 38 games with a left knee contusion. ... Padres RF Matt Kemp entered Friday with a .302/.364/.581 slash line in 138 career games against the Rockies with 36 doubles, 31 homers and 112 RBIs -- the highest against any opponent.

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