On this date 12 years ago, San Francisco Giants center fielder Fred Lewis recorded the 22nd cycle in franchise history.
Going all the way back to the 1882 season, there have been 325 instances in MLB history where a player has hit for the cycle—that is, recorded a single, double, triple and home run in the same game. The San Francisco Giants franchise has accounted for 23 of them.
It’s a trivial accomplishment in the grand scheme of things. After all, a 4-for-4 game with two triples and two home runs would carry greater significance and none of the pomp.
Nevertheless, it’s something we celebrate each time it occurs.
To that point, it was 12 years ago today that center fielder Fred Lewis hit for the cycle against the Colorado Rockies. So let’s take a look back at that memorable day.
Playing in just his 16th career MLB game and his third game of the 2007 season, Lewis was as unlikely a source for a cycle as any in MLB history. In fact, he entered the game with just seven career hits, and he had never recorded a multi-hit game at the MLB level.
The previous year, in his final full season in the minors, he hit .276/.375/.453 with 20 doubles, 11 triples, 12 home runs and 18 steals at Triple-A, and that was enough for him to begin the 2007 season as the No. 7 prospect in the Giants system, according to Baseball America (via Baseball Cube).
He played a grand total of 58 games during the 2007 season, helping provide some rest to an aging outfield of Barry Bonds (42), Dave Roberts (35) and Randy Winn (33). He hit .287/.374/.408 with six doubles, two triples and three home runs along the way, posting 0.8 WAR as one of the more productive fourth outfielders in baseball.
His cycle came in a Sunday afternoon game against the Rockies at Coors Field, with right-hander Taylor Buchholz earning the start for Colorado.
The 25-year-old finished the season with a respectable 4.23 ERA in 93.2 innings spanning eight starts and 33 relief appearances.
Lewis led off and played center field for the Giants on a day where they rested regular starters Barry Bonds, Ray Durham, Randy Winn and Bengie Molina. He had played right field and batted second the previous game, going 2-for-5 with a pair of singles.
The “B-team” lineup ended up scoring early and often in a 15-2 shellacking, and Lewis led the way with a 5-for-6 day that included four RBI and three runs scored.
Here’s how it went down:
First At-Bat: Double
In the batter’s box to start the game in the top of the first, Lewis wasted little time getting his historic day going.
The left-handed hitter laced an 0-1 pitch the other way over the head of left fielder Matt Holliday and off the wall, coasting into second for a leadoff double.
He advanced to third on a single from Omar Vizquel and scored on a balk to give the Giants a 1-0 lead.
Second At-Bat: Strikeout
The score was still 1-0 when Lewis stepped to the plate for the second time, and he had a chance to extend the lead with runners on second and third and two outs.
Instead, he struck out swinging and the threat was erased.
Third At-Bat: Home Run
By the time Lewis came up to bat for the third time, the wheels were starting to fall off for Buchholz.
After giving up just one run over the first three innings, he allowed back-to-back singles with one out in the fourth. He struck out Giants pitcher Matt Cain looking for the second out, but Lewis made him pay with another hard hit ball to the opposite field on a fastball that caught too much of the plate.
This time it cleared the wall for his first MLB home run.
Buchholz gave up two more hits and another run before getting out the inning, and he stayed into pitched the fifth inning. That was a mistake.
Fourth At-Bat: Triple
Unfortunately, Lewis didn’t get to face Buchholz for the fourth time. He got the hook after allowing a two-out RBI triple to Kevin Frandsen and then an RBI single to Cain.
Lefty reliever Tom Martin was called on to try to stop the bleeding. He posted a 4.91 ERA and 1.60 WHIP in 26 appearances in 2007 but failed to deliver on the platoon advantage in this matchup.
Lewis slapped a 1-1 pitch into the left-center gap that rolled slowly to the wall. With his good speed, he made it into third easily when the relay from the outfield went home and was not in time to cut down Cain, who came all the way around to score from first.
With the three tough ones out of the way, all he needed was a single for history.
Fifth At-Bat: Single
Denny Bautista earned mop-up duties for the Rockies in the seventh with the team already trailing 9-1. The 24-year-old posted an unsightly 12.46 ERA in nine appearances during the 2007 season, and a lot of that damage was done in this inning.
Lewis got the party started when he finally turned on a pitch and hit a 1-2 breaking ball into right field to complete the cycle.
From there, Bautista allowed four more singles and two doubles with just one out recorded before he was pulled.
Sixth At-Bat: Single
Still in the seventh inning, Lewis added another single for good measure against Zach McClellan.
By the time the inning finally came to an end, the Giants were up 15-1 and Lewis had completed the cycle and recorded his fifth hit of the game.
Despite the promising start to his career, Lewis never carved out a regular role at the MLB level.
The following season, he hit .282/.351/.440 with 25 doubles, 11 triples, nine home runs and 21 steals while recording what would be a career-high 521 plate appearances. After one more season with the Giants, he was traded to the Blue Jays, and the 2012 season marked his final year in the big leagues.
He spent one season with the Hiroshima Carp in Japan and three years playing independent ball before calling it a career after the 2016 season.
Still, his cycle will live on forever in San Francisco Giants history.