Bell forced to wait for cycle

David Bell needed to be patient.
Standing on third base, Bell had to endure a conference by the umpires before learning his triple would count giving him the cycle as the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Montreal Expos 14-6 last night.
“The thing is it’s just rare,” Bell said while standing several feet away from an unopened bottle of champagne. “You’re playing the game and you’re trying to get hits and win the game.
“That’s the part you’re happy about, then you realize [the cycle] is something that doesn’t happen very often.”
Bell doubled in the second, homered in the fourth, singled in the sixth, and then hit a controversial triple in the seventh inning to complete the feat also accomplished by his grandfather, Gus Bell, who hit for the cycle for Pittsburgh on June 4, 1951.
Bell drove a 2-2 pitch off Rocky Biddle to left-centre that appeared to deflect off the outreached hands of a fan in the first row. The ball caromed toward centre field and away from Montreal’s Brad Wilkerson.
Bell, who had a career-high six RBIs, easily strolled into third base to a standing ovation from the crowd. But Wilkerson and Expos manager Frank Robinson protested the call for several minutes.
The umpires convened and allowed the three-base hit to stand.
Afterwards, Robinson was clearly unhappy with the crew’s decision.
“The crew chief [first base umpire Ed Montague] said he would have called it a triple anyway,” Robinson said. “I thought that was a cop-out.”
Bell, who was unaware of his accomplishment until third-base coach John Vukovich told him, finally could relax and enjoy the moment.
“I knew what [Robinson] was trying to do. If they called it a double, it would have saved them a run,” Bell said. “I was just kind of waiting to see what was going to happen.”
It was his first triple of the season and the first since joining the Phillies before last year. Not known for his speed, the 10-year-veteran has only 12 triples in his career.
“When you’re ahead by a lot and you hit the ball like that, you usually pull up into second,” manager Larry Bowa said. “I think David had it in his mind he needed a triple.”
Bell was the third major-league player to hit for the cycle this season. Milwaukee’s Chad Moeller did it on April 27 and Pittsburgh’s Daryle Ward did so May 26.
After struggling through an injury-riddled 2003 in which he hit .195 with just four home runs and 37 RBIs, Bell said he has simply been content with being on the field.
“I’m just glad I’m playing,” Bell said. “I think I handled [last year] as well as I could, but it was tough.”
Pat Burrell homered, scored three runs, and drove in three for the Phillies while Bobby Abreu went 3-for-3 with two doubles and a pair of walks to reach base in all five plate appearances.
Chase Utley added a three-run home run in the sixth.
Kevin Millwood (6-5) won despite allowing three home runs. He gave up five runs and five hits over six innings, but struck out a season-high nine.
Millwood improved to 10-0 in his last 11 starts against Montreal. His last loss to the Expos came on Aug. 28, 2001 when he was with Atlanta.
“When things aren’t going good, you take it any way you can get it,” Millwood said.
Wilkerson and Terrmel Sledge had homered to give the Expos an early 3-0 lead. Tony Batista added a two-run shot off Millwood to bring Montreal within two in the sixth.
“We came back from three runs down. And then they made another run at us and we came back again,” Bowa said. ‘‘I like that.”
Elsewhere in the NL last night, Pittsburgh nipped St. Louis 2-1, San Diego doubled Arizona 10-5, and Atlanta beat Florida 6-1.