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Momentous day nets Hicks memories and a scorecard


CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Aaron Hicks had hit five homers over his previous three games when he came to the plate in the eighth inning on Thursday. Why wouldn't he swing for the fences?

With three homers already under his belt in this contest and a fourth on his mind, Hicks took a massive cut but missed a 2-0 pitch from Phillies right-hander Zach Miner. He wound up "settling" for a two-run single that broke his bat -- "Died a hero," Hicks said -- and gave the Twins a three-run lead. That brought an end to his 4-for-5 day, in which he drove in six runs and stole a base.

"It got colder two degrees when he swung and missed at that ball," manager Ron Gardenhire joked after his club's 10-6 win over the Phillies. "He definitely looked like he was trying to lift and separate. Then he regrouped and stayed on the ball. ... That was huge."

It was Hicks' first three-homer game since his days at Woodrow Wilson High School, in Long Beach, Calif., against Marina High School, and it was a memorable enough performance to warrant him keeping the official scorecard.

"Pretty fun day. You don't see that too many times," Gardenhire said. "He was pretty pumped up himself. We're just trying to get back in the game, no matter how we do it. He was sure a big part of that."

Granted, two of the switch-hitting center fielder's blasts were certainly helped by the friendly wind that blows out to right at Bright House Field. That's where he hit his first and third homers, both opposite-field shots off lefty pitchers, the former against Cliff Lee and the latter against Raul Valdes. But he pulled the second of his three bombs to left field against lefty Jeremy Horst.

He's naturally a right-handed hitter, which explains his power from that side, and he knew the elements were in his favor on Thursday.

"Clearwater usually blows out pretty well," Hicks said. "I really took advantage of the wind blowing out to right. The third one, I was trying to drive the ball to the right side, hopefully use that three hole and get a guy from first to third. I just elevated it, and there it is. There's No. 3."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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