Trea Turner was a single short of the cycle last night after tripling the second time up in the series opener with Chicago, homering off White Sox’ starter Odrisamer Despaigne the third time he faced him, and doubling off reliever José Ruiz in his fourth plate appearance.
It didn’t look like Turner would get it done after he struck out with reliever Thyago Vieira on the hill in the top of the eighth, but a six-run rally in the top of the ninth brought his spot in the lineup up again, with four hits (singles by Adam Eaton, Anthony Rendon, Juan Soto, and Howie Kendrick), a walk (by Brian Dozier), and a grand slam (by Kurt Suzuki) keeping the line moving long enough for Turner to get another shot.
“What I was thinking was,” Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez said after a 12-1 win over the Sox, “is that — so yesterday we hit the four home runs in a row, today we have a grand slam, and when he came up again I said, ‘Man, wouldn’t that something, cycle, grand slam, four home runs,’ that’s a heck of a two days right there.”
Turner popped out to second on the first pitch he saw from reliever Juan Minaya, however, so no cycle.
“It didn’t happen, but it was still a good day,” Martinez said.
Turner’s three-hit night and third straight multi-hit game, left him 28 for 102 (.275/.315/.500) with 10 doubles, two triples, three homers, six walks, and 23 Ks in 108 plate appearances in the 23 games he’s played since missing 39 with the broken right index finger he suffered in the fourth game of the season back on April 2nd.
Overall on the year, the 25-year-old shortstop now has a .284/.325/.543 line.
Martinez talked after the win over the White Sox about what he’s seen from Turner as he’s gotten back into the swing of things after the extended stint on the Injured List.
“He’s really trying to stay — using the whole field, staying in the middle of the field,” he said.
“And when he does that he’s really good, really good, and his defense was really good today too, so he’s playing really well.”
The Nationals are playing well recently too, with wins in 12 of 14 as they’ve climbed close to .500 (31-35) and gone from 10.0 to 6.0 games back in the NL East over that stretch.
Having Turner back in the lineup has definitely helped spark the offense, Martinez said.
“When we have Trea getting on base and leading off, he creates a lot of havoc. You’ve got him, you’ve got Eaton behind him. Those two get on for Rendon and Soto, it gets us going.”
Over the last two weeks, Turner has really turned it on too, with a .340/.375/.698 line, six of his doubles, two triples, and three home runs in his last 12 games.
“Like I’ve said before,” Martinez told reporters, “... after missing seven weeks and not playing game speed, it takes a little bit to catch up, and now you’re starting to see Trea play the way he’s capable of playing, and it’s good to see.”
Turner is back atop the lineup tonight for the second of two with the White Sox in Chicago, as the Nationals go for a sweep of their four games against the AL Central club this season.