Brookens takes blame for Hunter missing cycle
For the second time in July, Torii Hunter missed out on the cycle by one measly hit. Instead of a single, as he missed July 6, he needed a triple Wednesday. He very nearly got it.
Maybe he should have.
Hunter gave it his best shot in the seventh inning dropping a ball into fair territory near the right-field corner. With Alex Avila on the bases, however, third base coach Tom Brookens held him up at third base, something Hunter didn’t anticipate until he was already around second base and the throw was coming in.
Hunter was caught off second base, leaving him with a second double.
“I told the guys in the dugout, ‘If I hit the ball in the outfield, I’m running no matter what,’” Hunter said. “And I took off running, and I saw Avila slowing down at third. I was like, ‘Forget it. I’m going to keep going.’ I kept running and the non-selfish me just stopped, trying to go back. I should’ve just kept running until Avila had to take it on the chin.”
After the inning, Brookens was spotted in the dugout talking with Hunter. After the game, Brookens confirmed he wasn’t aware he had a chance to hit for the cycle.
“Had I realized, I probably would’ve sent Alex, knowing he would probably be out, but given him the chance,” Brookens said.
Avila, who apparently is dealing with a hip injury the Tigers had kept quiet until somebody spotted him hobbling during the game, said he would’ve done his best to score.
“I was running hard. I couldn’t go any faster than that,” Avila said. “I thought I got a good enough jump off the ball because I knew [Jayson] Werth wasn’t going to be able to catch it. I thought maybe I had a good enough jump where I was able to score, but as soon as I saw Brookie put the stop sign, as fast as I was going it’s not very hard to stop.”
Even on a play like that, though, Hunter could’ve still been credited with just a double if Avila had been thrown out at the plate.
Hunter has never hit for the cycle in the big leagues. He had one in the minors.
“That’s an individual goal, an individual achievement,” Hunter said. “A lot of guys aren’t looking for that. The guys in the dugout knew.”