OKC's Outman seals cycle with walk-off homer
The 2022 season has been nothing short of a whirlwind for James Outman. He started the year in Double-A, made his Major League debut with the Dodgers in July, homered in his first at-bat and was optioned back to Triple-A six games later. But in a season full of firsts,
The 2022 season has been nothing short of a whirlwind for
But in a season full of firsts, Los Angeles’ No. 13 prospect still had two feats he had yet to accomplish: a cycle and a walk-off home run. With one swing of the bat on Friday, he achieved both.
“I had chills running around the bases,” Outman said after sealing his first professional cycle and Oklahoma City’s 7-4 win over El Paso with a three-run blast. “Seeing the whole team standing there, getting doused with the whole bucket of freezing water, it’s really fun. There are a lot of emotions going through your head, and it’s just really fun celebrating with the team.”
The 25-year-old was aware of the looming cycle when he stepped to the plate with two on and one out in the final frame, but he wasn’t trying to leave the yard. He only wanted to win the game.
“I was just trying to hit the ball hard. We had a guy on second there, I didn’t want to get too big or anything,” Outman said. “I was just trying to do my job.”
That. Dude. pic.twitter.com/6igHzKh1gd— Oklahoma City Dodgers (@okc_dodgers) August 27, 2022
The outfielder had more than done his job in the eight innings prior. Outman accounted for six of the Dodgers’ seven runs in the game, finishing the contest 5-for-5 with two triples. All six of his RBIs either gave Oklahoma City the lead or tied the game.
“I just felt like my approach was working today,” Outman said. “My teammates did a really good job getting on base and making it tough for the pitchers, so thankfully I got good pitches to hit when I needed them.”
Outman started his night with a single to right on an 0-2 pitch in the second before driving a triple to center in the third to give Oklahoma City a 2-1 advantage. The Chihuahuas tied the game in the fourth, but their lead only lasted until Outman stepped to the plate again in the sixth. He doubled to left to retake the lead, and when El Paso plated two in the eighth to go up by a run, Outman laced his second triple to center of the game after a leadoff walk to immediately knot the score at 4.
El Paso threatened twice in the top of the ninth, but nothing came of it. The first two batters reached base for the Dodgers in the bottom of the frame, but Jason Martin, who had already scored twice on Outman’s hits, struck out swinging.
With the stage set for the lefty slugger to finish what he started, he didn’t disappoint.
“I think the key is to cherish these moments. They come around once in a blue moon,” Outman said. “When we can cherish those moments, we’ll be in a good spot.”
Outman certainly has a lot of things to cherish this season, but at the end of the day, he still has one goal in mind.
“Yeah, the cycle is cool,” Outman said with a laugh. “I’d love to do it in the big leagues someday.”
Stephanie Sheehan is an contributor for MiLB.com.