Hill's second cycle highlights rout of Brewers

Hill's second cycle highlights rout of Brewers

Hill's second cycle highlights rout of Brewers
MILWAUKEE -- When they walked out of the visitors' clubhouse at Miller Park last October, the D-backs were a solemn bunch having just dropped Game 5 of the National League Division Series.

Friday night, their first time back since then, the D-backs had smiles on their faces as they rode Aaron Hill's second cycle of the season and Ian Kennedy's quality start to a 9-3 win over the Brewers.

"When we left this clubhouse, it was really quiet and really, really tough to take," Kennedy recalled. "So it was good to get that win tonight to erase those."

Hill went 4-for-5 with three RBIs to lead the offense. His cycle was the sixth in franchise history and it marked the second time in less than two weeks that he had accomplished the feat.

The last time a player had two cycles in a season was Babe Herman for Brooklyn in 1931, and it happened only two other times in baseball history, both before 1900.

"Eighty-one years?" D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said when told of the last two-cycle season. "That's all?"

The D-backs can afford to joke given the way the offense swung the bats, pounding out 14 hits and taking advantage of seemingly every mistake Milwaukee starter Randy Wolf made.

"We didn't miss the balls up," Hill said. "We're best when we [capitalize] on their mistakes. That's what we did tonight. It's always nice when it works out."

Speaking of cycles, D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt missed hitting for one himself by only a triple.

Goldschmidt had a couple of chances to get the cycle, but walked in the seventh, and his grounder down the left-field line in the ninth was touched by a fan for a ground-rule double. It's unlikely that the play would have gone for a triple if the fan had not touched it.

"He would have had to trip or it would have had to take a funny bounce or something like that," Goldschmidt said. "Maybe if it were down the right-field line you're definitely going to go for it, but down the left-field line, the chances of getting a triple are very slim, if any."

Was he thinking triple when he stepped into the box?

"I mean, honestly, it's in the back of your head, but you can't try to hit a triple, so you just try to go up there and have a good AB, and if it happens, it happens," Goldschmidt said.

Kennedy, who started Games 1 and 5 of the NLDS at Miller Park, allowed three runs on six hits over seven innings to improve to 6-7.

"I was getting ahead of guys and I was keeping the ball down," Kennedy said. "Even on a couple of the hits the ball was down. As long as I feel like my command is there it could be at least a solid night and I can give our team a chance."

Kennedy's line would have looked even better if not for his throwing error with two outs in the sixth that prolonged the inning and allowed a pair of unearned runs to score.

It hardly mattered at that point in the game, though, as the D-backs were already up, 9-1.

After the Brewers scored a run in the first, the D-backs tied things up in the second and then put up a five spot in the third, with Goldschmidt's three-run homer the big blow of the inning.

"They put us on the board, scored I think it was five in the third. It definitely helps as a pitcher, you can try to attack the zone," Kennedy said. "You ask any pitcher, we like that and it allows us to throw a lot of strikes. It wasn't just the third inning, later on we kept scoring runs, and it definitely helps."

Indeed, the D-backs scored a pair in the fourth on Hill's two-run homer and tacked on another run in the sixth when Hill completed the cycle with an RBI triple.

Wolf (2-6) allowed eight runs and lasted just four innings. The left-hander has not won since April 30.

"It's not fun," Wolf said. "This has definitely been a nightmare, starting from Day 1."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.