CINCINNATI -- In the midst of the most productive streak of his career, Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich completed the second cycle in the Majors this season and became the third player to tally six hits. Milwaukee needed every one of them.
In a 13-12, 10-inning win over the Reds at Great American Ball Park on Wednesday, Yelich became the eighth Brewers player to hit for the cycle in 50 seasons as a franchise and the first since George Kottaras in 2011. Then Yelich became the fourth Brewers player to produce six hits, the first since Jean Segura in 2013.
The last player in the Major Leagues to hit for the cycle and get six hits? Ian Kinsler in 2009. Alfonso Soriano was the last player to get six hits in a game that went extra innings, but like Yelich, he collected his six hits in nine innings.
In other words, it was a very productive night. One Yelich never saw coming.
"Honestly? In the cage today, it was a zoo," he said, referring to the afternoon rain that washed out batting practice and delayed the first pitch by 27 minutes. "We didn't have any [batting practice] on the field today. You do your flip routine. It was just one of those days where it was 'not it.'
"You leave there and go, 'All right, we're going to go out there and find a way to compete. Do anything you can to help the guys win.' Baseball is a crazy game that way. Things that you don't really expect to happen in this game happen. It was one of those nights."
Yelich singled in the first inning, reached on an infield hit in the third, hit a go-ahead, two-run home run in the fifth, doubled in the sixth, hit a tying RBI triple in the seventh and legged out another infield hit in the ninth to push his batting average up to .319, which leads the National League.
The Brewers have never had a batting champion, but it's Yelich's power that stands out lately. He's now homered in seven of his last 10 games, an anomaly for a player who insists he's not consciously doing anything different, that his sudden propensity for driving the baseball skyward is not part of a plan to join the launch angle revolution.
It's just happening naturally, Yelich says with a shrug.
"It's really hard to explain," Yelich said.
The 26-year-old budding Brewers star continued to let his bat do the explaining on Wednesday, when he made it six clouts in his last six games and 26 for the season. Yelich's previous career high for homers was 21.
With his 6-for-6 night, Yelich is hitting .371 (73-for-197) with 15 home runs and 40 RBIs over his last 45 games. That stretch overlaps with Yelich's first appearance in the All-Star Game, during which he hit a homer.
"I've never seen a game like that. It was incredible," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He's coming up there and you're thinking he can't do it again, and he does it again. Then he makes a great throw to [prevent the Reds from tying the game in the seventh inning].
"He did everything tonight, he really did. He's driving the bus home tonight."
Now a bona fide NL Most Valuable Player Award candidate, Yelich sees more room to grow.
"You try to improve every year, and you learn a lot about the game and yourself," he said Tuesday of his increased power production. "I think you're still learning, no matter how long you play this game. It's kind of a trial-by-fire-type deal.
"You'll go through stretches when you're really hot and stretches when you struggle a little bit. You try to key in on what you do well when you're going well and what happens when you go bad. … It's easy to say, but it's really hard over the course of a year to do that."