boston – When slow-footed Bengie Molina went to the plate needing a triple to hit for the cycle in cozy Fenway Park, his manager had a question for Michael Young.
“Where do you think he has to hit it for a triple?” Ron Washington asked his third baseman. “He said, ‘Nowhere in this ballpark.’”
Ian Kinsler, the last Texas Ranger to hit for the cycle, was equally pessimistic.
“I would have bet everything I own that Bengie Molina would never hit for the cycle,” he said with a smile. “Ever.”
Molina surprised them both and powered Texas to an 8-4 win over the Boston Red Sox on Friday night, becoming the eighth player and first catcher since 1900 to hit for the cycle with a grand slam. The last player to do that was Minnesota’s Jason Kubel on April 17, 2009.
Molina completed his feat in the eighth inning when he hit Ramon Ramirez’s pitch to the deepest part of Fenway into the center field triangle 420 feet from home. The ball bounced off the glove of Eric Patterson for only the sixth triple of Molina’s career.
“When I saw the ball going away from him, I just put my head down and kept going,” Molina said. “For a guy who has been criticized for his speed for 111/2 years and may be the slowest guy in the world, it was an unbelievable feeling.”
Molina, obtained from the San Francisco Giants on July 1 to shore up a team weakness at catcher, looked over his right shoulder at Patterson as he rounded second and lumbered into third then smiled at teammates in the dugout. A few pitches later, he left the game with tightness in his right quadriceps after slipping rounding first.
He was replaced by pinch-runner Joaquin Arias, who scored the final run of the game on a sacrifice fly by Young.
Molina is the fifth player in Rangers history to hit for the cycle.