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Cubs batters who made 'synthetic cycles'

Willson Contreras already had homered and doubled against the Reds last Wednesday when he smacked a pitch to deep left center in the eighth inning with nobody on base.

Contreras may have thought momentarily about trying for a triple, but stopped at second.

Had he made it to third, Contreras would have recorded at bats in which he wound up on first, second and third, and circled the bases, because he also had been hit by a pitch.

Call it a "synthetic cycle."

..........

Cubs batters have hit for the true cycle -- single, double, triple and homer -- 11 times, 9 of them in the Modern Era. None has done it since Mark Grace, on May 9, 1993. Players on other teams have completed 111 cycles since then, 5 of them this season, making the all-time count 339.

Since 1901, Cubs have made a single, double and triple, but no homer 230 times.

They have made a single, double and homer, but no triple, 565 times.

They have made a single, triple and homer, but no double, 80 times.

And they have made a double, triple and homer, but no single, 28 times.

That's a total of 903 times that a batter fell 1 hit shy of a cycle.

But 3 of the 28 who lacked a single did finish the day with a "synthetic cycle" by reaching base on a walk. None have done so by being hit by a pitch, nor on an error.

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LONG TRIP

After beginning the 1925 with 7 games at home, the Cubs played 34 in a row on the road. They visited each of the 7 other National League cities through May 23, returned to Cincinnati for a Sunday doubleheader and played 3 more games at Pittsburgh. Then they made a third stop at Cincinnati, where they won 2 games, then lost twice on Memorial Day, to finish the trip 13-21.

The following afternoon, Sunday, May 31, they hosted the Pirates in their first game at home since April 20.

...

With 2 out and nobody on in the second inning, Gabby Hartnett walked. Charlie Grimm then popped up.

The Cubs led, 1-0, when Hartnett batted again in the fourth, moments after a leadoff double. Hartnett doubled, too, then scored on a single by Grimm.

In the fifth, Hartnett walked with a runner on third and 2 out. Grimm followed with a single that made the score 4-2.

It still was 4-2 when Hartnett tripled with 1 out and nobody on in the seventh. Grimm lifted a fly to right and Hartnett raced home.

The Cubs broke the game wide open in the eighth by producing 6 runs on 6 hits, 4 errors and a wild pitch. They had scored 3 of the runs before Hartnett came up, with 1 out and a runner on first, and slammed a home run.

He ended the day 3 for 3, plus 2 walks, and 3 runs batted in.

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LONG WAIT

No Cub duplicated Hartnett's feat -- walk, double, triple and homer -- for nearly 79 years.

On Sunday, April 18, 2004, with the wind was blowing out to center field at Wrigley Field at 25 miles per hour, the Cubs and Reds combined for 21 runs and 30 hits, including 7 home runs.

The Cubs made 17 of the hits, 9 for extra bases. Moises Alou made 1 of their 6 doubles, their only triple, and 1 of their 3 homers.

But the Reds won, 11-10, in 10 innings.

...

After Adam Dunn smacked a 3-run, 2-out homer off Greg Maddux in the top of the first, Sammy Sosa homered with 2 out and nobody on in the bottom. Alou then walked and Aramis Ramirez fouled out.

Sosa walloped another solo homer in the third, tying the score at 3. Alou doubled on the next pitch, but was stranded.

The Reds regained the lead in the fourth, 5-3, as they homered, singled and tripled on consecutive pitches.

Alou homered on the first pitch he saw leading off the fifth. The Cubs then loaded the bases with 1 out. A forceout brought home 1 run and Todd Walker's double drove in 2 more, putting the Cubs on top, 7-5.

...

In the sixth, Maddux hit the first batter, struck out the second and surrendered a game-tying homer to the third.

The Cubs broke the tie with 1 out in the bottom half when Alou tripled and Ramirez doubled.

Maddux gave way to Kent Mercker in the seventh. The reliever got 1 out, then yielded a single and first-pitch home run to Dunn that gave the Reds a 9-8 lead.

The first 2 Cubs were retired in the Cubs' seventh. Walker kept the inning alive by drawing a walk, and he raced home on a double by Corey Patterson: 9-9.

...

Alou had a chance to complete a true cycle when he led off the eighth, but flied out.

A walk put Reds on first and second with 1 out in the 10th. Both scored moments later on a triple.

Patterson doubled for the Cubs and stayed at second as Sosa grounded out. Alou worked the count to 2-2, then swung and missed. The pitch eluded the catcher, however, enabling Alou to reach first and Patterson to advance to third.

A fly ball to center by Ramirez scored Patterson, with Alou holding at first. Two pitches later, Derrek Lee flied out, too, sealing the Cubs' fate.

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IAN MAKES IT 3

Over the next 14 years, only 1 Cub had a double, triple and homer in a game: Ramirez, in an 8-6 loss to the White Sox in 2006.

Then, on Saturday, May 19, 2018, Ian Happ joined Hartnett and Alou in the "synthetic cycle" club. He became the first to do so on the road: at Cincinnati, in Game 1 of a doubleheader.

Happ, batting eighth, doubled with 2 out in the second. Pitcher Kyle Hendricks then grounded out.

Happ reached second again with 1 out in the third, on a walk and a balk. A 2-out put 2 on base for Kris Bryant, whose RBI doubled the previous inning had tied the score at 1. This time, Bryant struck out swinging.

The Cubs were down, 1-2, when Happ led off the sixth. On a full count, he drove a ball to deep left-center for a triple. Hendricks doubled on the next pitch, scoring Happ and tying the game.

...

Hendricks remained on second through 4 more batters: popped up bunt, fly out, intentional walk and ground out.

Then he lasted only 4 more batters on the mound in the bottom of the inning: error, walk, RBI single, RBI double.

That put the Reds in front, 4-2. Randy Rosario replaced Hendricks and prevented any more damage, with the final out coming on a 3-pitch, bases-loaded strikeout of Billy Hamilton.

The Reds brought in a new pitcher, Raisel Iglesias, to start the eighth. Happ greeted him with a full-count homer.

A single, 2 outs and a double by Anthony Rizzo then tied the score at 4.

...

Hamilton doubled off Pedro Strop with 1 out in the bottom of the ninth, but Strop struck out the next 2 batters, sending the game into extra innings.

Happ fanned on 3 pitches to open the 10th, in which both teams went 1-2-3.

Bryant led off the 11th with single and after a fly out he stole second. Another fly ball, an intentional walk and a groundout ended the threat.

The game then ended in agonizing fashion, as Justin Wilson walked the first batter, gave up a single, issued another walk to load the bases, and walked Hamilton, forcing in the winning run.

No Cub has had a double, triple and home run in a game since that day more than 4 years ago.

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SHY BY A SINGLE

Here, in chronological order, are all 28 times that a Cub doubled, tripled and homered, but did not single:

6/13/1904: Frank Chance, at New York vs. Giants

7/20/1911: Frank Schulte, at Philadelphia

5/27/1915: Vic Saier, at Philadelphia

9/17/1922; Ray Grimes, at Brooklyn

4/20/1924: George Grantham, at Cincinnati

5/31/1925: Gabby Hartnett, vs. Pirates (2 walks)

6/20/1925: Grover Cleveland Alexander, vs. Phillies

7/07/1929: Rogers Hornsby, at Boston

8/09/1931: Billy Jurges, vs. Cardinals

5/12/1945: Peanut Lowrey, at Boston

7/02/1950: Andy Pafko, at Cincinnati

5/31/1960: Ernie Banks, at San Francisco

6/25/1961: George Altman, at Milwaukee

6/60/1971: Randy Hundley, at Philadelphia

5/02/1972: Glenn Beckert, vs. Braves

6/08/1974: Jerry Morales, at Los Angeles

6/10/1976: Jose Cardenal vs. Braves

7/10/1976: Manny Trillo, vs. Giants

5/05/1977: Manny Trillo, vs. Astros

9/11/1982: Ryne Sandberg, vs. Expos

6/19/1988: Andre Dawson, vs. Expos

7/28/1992: Steve Buechele, vs. Pirates

7/04/1995: Brian McRae, at New York vs. Mets

5/11/1999: Jose Hernandez, at Los Angeles

4/18/2004: Moises Alou, vs. Reds (1 walk)

7/01/2006: Aramis Ramirez, vs. White Sox

5/19/2018: Ian Happ, at Cincinnati (1 walk)

Note that Trillo, in 1976 and 1977, is the only Cubs who twice failed to complete a cycle for lack of a single.

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