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(2nd LD) Eric Thames of NC Dinos becomes first KBO player with two cycles in one season

All Headlines 22:55 August 11, 2015

(ATTN: UPDATES with final results; ADDS comments)

SEOUL, Aug. 11 (Yonhap) -- Eric Thames of the NC Dinos on Tuesday became the first player in South Korean baseball to hit for the cycle twice in one season.

The American slugger completed his second cycle of the season against the Nexen Heroes at Mokdong Stadium in Seoul. It was the 18th cycle in the 33-year history of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO). Thanks to Thames' heroics, the Dinos defeated the Heroes 9-8.

Thames, formerly with the Toronto Blue Jays and the Seattle Mariners, had his first cycle on April 9.

Yang Joon-hyuk, a retired legend and the KBO's all-time leader in hits, is the only other player with at least two career cycles. Yang hit for the cycle once each in 1996 and 2003.

In Major League Baseball, only John Reilly (1884), Tip O'Neill (1887), Babe Herman (1931) and Aaron Hill (2012) have hit for the cycle twice in one season.

Leading off the second inning as the Dinos' cleanup, Thames hit a single up the middle to start his night. With a man on in the third, Thames launched a towering two-run home run over the right field.

In the fifth, Thames floated one to the deep left field corner for a triple. He completed the historic cycle with a double off the center field wall in the sixth.

Thames said after the game he wasn't aware of his feat until his first base coach, Jeon Jun-ho, told him to stop at second base on that sixth inning double.

"I had no idea what was going on," he said. "It was in the middle of the game, and I was locked in. I was just trying to have quality at-bats, and I didn't even see where the ball went (on that double)."

After drawing a walk in the seventh, Thames hit a single in the ninth to cap off a perfect, 5-for-5 evening. He drove in two and scored three times.

Thames, 29, has been one of the most dangerous hitters in the KBO in 2015. In 98 games prior to Tuesday, Thames was batting the league-best .373 with 35 home runs (second), 101 RBIs (second), .489 on-base percentage (first) and .798 slugging percentage (first).

He's also the only player with at least a .300 average, 30 home runs, 100 RBIs and 100 runs scored. With 28 steals, Thames is on the verge of joining the 30-30 club. Only five other players have had at least 30 homers and 30 steals in one season. No one has posted a 40-40 season in the KBO.

In 2014, his first KBO season, Thames hit .343 with 37 home runs and 101 RBIs in 125 games.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
(END)

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