Turner (7 RBIs) triples to cap 3rd cycle in Nationals history
By Owen Perkins
Special to MLB.com |
DENVER -- Nationals shortstop Trea Turner had the hottest night of his career in the coldest game of the season on Tuesday, hitting for the cycle while driving in a personal-best seven runs in a 15-12 win over the Rockies at Coors Field.
Turner singled to right field in the first inning, doubled to left in the second to drive in a pair, hit a two-run homer to right in the sixth and knocked a bases-loaded triple into the right-field corner in the seventh.
Turner (23 years, 300 days old) is the second-youngest player to hit for the cycle and drive in seven or more runs in a game in Major League history, the youngest being Joe DiMaggio. Turner is the 24th-youngest player to hit for the cycle -- right between Hall of Famers Cal Ripken Jr. and Goose Goslin -- and he is the youngest to achieve the milestone since Mike Trout (21 years, 287 days) in 2013.
"I actually wasn't [thinking cycle]," Turner said of his triple. "I was trying to survive the cold. Bases loaded, one out, I was just trying to hit the ball to the outfield. I didn't want to hit into a double play. I slid in, and I had to tell myself, 'Wait a second. I hit for the cycle.'"
"Being at the top of the lineup, I don't get a ton of opportunities to [drive in runs], and when I do get an opportunity, sometimes I try too hard. Tonight was just putting the ball in play, putting the barrel on the ball."
The Nats were up, 11-5, when he hit the three-run triple, but the runs mattered as the Rockies came back to score seven more runs in the final three frames.
"There aren't many guys that can say they drove in seven runs in a game," manager Dusty Baker said. "I hope he remembers how he did it and duplicates it over and over and over."
Turner said the closest he can ever remember coming to a cycle was in his rookie campaign with the Nats.
"Last year, I was a double short after three at-bats, and I had two more at-bats and got out twice," Turner said. "I was trying to hit that double. Today I don't think about it and it happens. That's baseball."
It was the third cycle in Nats history, and the ninth for the Nats/Expos franchise.
"It's elite talent, and he's a grinder," said Daniel Murphy, who matched his own career high with five RBIs. "He doesn't give away pitches, offense or defense. So when you take someone who's immensely talented like he is, and then he's engaged on every single pitch, special things happen, which is what we saw this evening."
Five of the last 10 cycles have come at Coors Field -- going back to the start of the 2014 season (Turner, Wil Myers, Matt Kemp, Shin-Soo Choo, Michael Cuddyer) -- and nine of the last 26, dating back to Troy Tulowitzki against the Cubs on Aug. 10, 2009. There have been 16 total cycles at Coors Field, which opened in 1995.
Turner hit for the ninth cycle by an opponent at Coors Field, preceded by the Cardinals' John Mabry on May 18, 1996, the Astros' Craig Biggio on April 8, 2002, the Giants' Fred Lewis on May 13, 2007, the Giants' Pablo Sandoval on Sept. 15, 2011, the Mets' Scott Hairston on April 27, 2012, Choo on July 21, 2015, and the Padres' Kemp on Aug. 14, 2015, and Myers on April 10, 2017.
Ironically, the two cycles hit this season -- from Myers and Turner -- involve two players from one trade. Turner was the "player to be named" in a three-team trade with the Nats, Rays and Padres in December 2014.
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com based in Denver who covered the Nationals on Tuesday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.