Trea Turner hit 70 home runs in his career before he finally connected for an inside-the-park home run, which, considering how fast he is, is kind of surprising. On Thursday afternoon in Citizens Bank Park, the Washington Nationals’ 27-year-old shortstop finally hit one just right, bouncing a line drive to right-center off the end of the scoreboard/wall, just out of reach of Philadelphia Phillies’ center fielder, Roman Quinn, who leapt and landed kind of awkwardly, tumbling to the ground as the ball ricocheted off the wall and bounced into the center field grass.
Turner watched the ball as he reached first and rounded the bases, then when it bounced, he turned on the afterburners and showed off his 80-grade speed, and the Nationals’ plus-plus runner got all the way around, for his first career inside-the-park home run, which was actually a two-run, game-tying shot which made it 2-2 in the top of the third.
“Hit it good, felt like I had a chance at a homer, but [Quinn] ran after it pretty hard, so I felt like he was going to run it down,” Turner said, after what ended up a 6-5 loss to the Phillies, when he was asked by reporters to go through the play.
“He’s got a bunch of speed out there,” Turner continued, “so I was just keeping my eyes on the ball and then once I saw it hit and kick pretty far I knew I had a shot, and tried to keep my eyes on the ball as long as possible, so I think even around second base I was still watching the ball and I felt like I had a shot and I was going to go kind of regardless if [third base coach] Chip [Hale] sent me or not, but then I saw him waving me, so I just continued through.”
Turner sped around third and slid in headfirst at home as a high throw got to catcher J.T. Realmuto.
“Luis [García],” who scored on the play and guided Turner in, “... told me to stand up, and I was going to slide just in case, and then I felt like as I was sliding I kind of heard or saw J.T. catch the ball, so I was thinking in my head, ‘Thanks a lot, Luis.’ That could have been bad, getting thrown out at home plate, so glad I slid, but happy to tie the game there.”
“Amazing,” starter Aníbal Sánchez said after the extra innings loss.
“[Turner] can fly, as soon as we saw the ball hit the wall in the back ... I know he’s got a chance to score. Was pretty good, especially because we tied the game.”
Sánchez gave up two runs in the bottom of the inning, however, and each team added a run along the way before it went to extras tied at 5-5 and the Phillies scored their free runner on a walk-off sac fly, because 2020.
After dropping three straight, and getting shut out in the second and third games, was it all the more frustrating to drop the finale too, when the Nationals actually did a lot right in the fourth game of the series?
“Like I always say, I think losing sucks in general,” Turner told reporters. “But for me, we do a lot of things great, so it’s what we or you or whoever wants to focus on.
“Do you want to be positive or do you want to I guess feel bad for yourself. So I think we did a lot of things good, and if we play like we did tonight I think we should win more often.”