On April 27, 2012, Scott Hairston added his name to the list of New York Mets who hit for the cycle.
The New York Mets had plenty of individual accomplishments to celebrate in 2012. Johan Santana pitched the first no-hitter in franchise history on June 1, cementing his place in Mets lore forever. Matt Harvey made his much-anticipated major league debut on July 26 and began his meteoric rise to stardom in New York. Not to be outdone, R.A. Dickey led the NL in innings, strikeouts, complete games, and shutouts and ultimately won the Cy Young award.
Clearly, most Mets highlights from 2012 were pitching-related. But on April 27, Scott Hairston had a truly remarkable day at the plate. He went 4-5 with three runs scored, and for just the 10th time in Mets history, hit for the cycle. However, his hitting accomplishments that day were somewhat overshadowed by the ugly game in which they occurred.
Hairston had been signed by the Mets as a free agent before the 2011 season and re-signed with them on another one-year deal before the 2012 season. He played all three outfield positions for the Amazins, appearing in 134 total games in 2012. Though Hairston was a semi-full time player, he had not generated many offensive highlights in Queens up to this point.
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On this notable day, the Mets had Chris Schwinden facing off against Drew Pomeranz and the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Schwinden made a handful of appearances in his major league career, entering only seven total games between 2011 and 2012 for the Mets.
On April 27, he demonstrated why his major league career may not have lasted, as he went just four innings and surrendered six runs, five earned.
The first few innings of this game were competitive, with the Mets and Rockies tied at two apiece after four. Hairston’s first hit was a single off of Pomeranz to lead off the top of the second, though he was left stranded to end the inning.
Hairston came up again against Pomeranz in the top of the fourth, and hit a home run to deep left field, getting him halfway to the cycle.
In the top of the fifth, the Amazins had a four-run rally that looked like it might send them towards a victory. Hairston had his third hit of the day, a triple to deep center field that drove in Ruben Tejada from first base. Lucas Duda, Mike Nickeas, and Schwinden followed with RBI singles later in the inning, giving the Mets a 6-2 lead going to the bottom of the fifth.
Unfortunately, the game pretty much fell apart for the Mets at that point. They committed a whopping four errors in the inning which led to eleven runs allowed, both tying franchise records for a single half inning. The Mets finished the game with six errors committed, which was one shy of their single-game record. When the inning finally concluded, the Mets had gone from a 6-2 lead to a 13-6 deficit.
Despite this outrageous turnaround, the Amazins still had some rallying fight left in them. They came right back in the top of the 6th inning and scored three more runs off of Rockies pitching. Hairston completed his cycle with a two-run double to left field that scored Tejada and David Wright. He was soon driven in by Duda, giving the Mets nine runs scored on the day.
Hairston was later removed from the game in a double switch in the bottom of the 7th inning, a frame in which the Rockies continued their barrage and scored five more runs to make it 18-9. Even more remarkable than Hairston hitting for the cycle was that he did it in only seven innings.
After the Rockies scored their 18th and final run of the day, the scoring finally quieted down, and the game ended as an 18-9 loss for New York. Hairston commented afterward, “It’s probably one of the most craziest games I’ve ever been a part of.”
Though Hairston’s accomplishments that day were certainly worthy of celebration, the fact that the Mets lost the game in such ugly fashion made it difficult for him to pat himself on the back too much.
“It was great when it was happening,” Hairston said in a postgame interview, “but when they kept scoring runs, it really wasn’t that enjoyable, to say the least.”
The Mets have not had a cycle in a major league game since Hairston’s historic day in 2012, though Johneshwy Fargas did make some headlines when he hit for the cycle in a spring training game in early March.
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Until the next regular season cycle, Hairston’s historic day in 2012 will remain a topical reference point for Mets fans. It also serves as a reminder that even the rarest of individual accomplishments cannot carry an entire team to victory.