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09/16/11 1:00 AM ET

Sandoval hits triple to complete the cycle

DENVER -- Pablo Sandoval used every ounce of speed his legs could provide to notch a sixth-inning triple against the Rockies on Thursday, and it was enough to give the Giants third baseman his first career cycle.

Sandoval's cycle was the 25th in Giants history, and it played a key role in San Francisco's 8-5 win.

After racing to third for the triple, Sandoval was clearly exhausted, his effort made more challenging by the thin Denver air. But even as he was catching his breath, a large smile was attached to the third baseman's face.

"I was tired, but I was happy," Sandoval said. "It was my first time [hitting] a cycle in the big leagues, so I had to be happy. No matter what, if I'm tired, I'm still going to be happy."

Sandoval hit a two-run homer -- his 20th of the season -- in the first inning to set off the big night. He singled in the second inning and hit a leadoff double in the fifth.

In the sixth, Sandoval belted a pitch from Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin that sailed just over the outstretched glove of right fielder Carlos Gonzalez. The ball caromed toward center field, allowing Sandoval to reach third safely with a headfirst slide.

"That was big," Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong said. "It's pretty cool to see somebody get the cycle. I'm happy for him. That's quite an accomplishment."

Giants players stood on the top step of the dugout to cheer on Sandoval -- who collected the first Giants cycle since Fred Lewis accomplished the feat on May 13, 2007, also at Coors Field -- following the triple, one the third baseman didn't expect to hit.

"I was kidding with him after he hit the [double], rubbing his legs saying, 'I've got to get these things loose for a triple," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He said, 'No, I'm not even thinking about it. Sure enough, he hit the perfect ball."

Sandoval's cycle was the second this season, as the Brewers' George Kottaras hit for one on Sept. 3 against the Astros.

"For me, it was a great moment," Sandoval said.

Nick Kosmider is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.