Trea Turner lined a single to center the first time up, doubled to left in at bat No. 2, homered to right-center in his third plate appearance, then tripled to right field in his fourth at bat for the 3rd cycle of his career, on his 28th birthday nonetheless. Turner went 4 for 4 with four runs this afternoon in the Washington Nationals’ 15-6 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, and he’s now tied for the MLB record with three career cycles, joining a real short list, which includes Adrian Beltre, Babe Herman, Bob Meusel, and Long John Reilly. Happy Birthdea, Trea!
Lester vs Tampa Bay: Going up against the Rays earlier this month in Tropicana Field, Nats’ lefty Jon Lester threw 91 pitches in 3 2⁄3 IP, holding the home team in that game to four hits, four walks, and one earned run, but with the pitch count climbing and the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth, following two walks and a single, the Nationals pulled the plug on the 37-year-old left-hander’s outing.
“His pitch count shot up on him,” manager Davey Martinez said after a 3-1 loss to the Rays that day.
“Uncharacteristic,” Martinez said. “He was behind a lot of hitters, but I thought he battled really well. He gave us everything he had tonight. Just like what you said, his pitch count got up high and we just had to get him out at that moment.”
Going up against the Rays again, for the second time in June, Lester fell behind early, with Manuel Margot singling in the first at bat, stealing second base, taking third on a throwing error by Yan Gomes on the play, and scoring on a sac fly to center by Randy Arozarena, 1-0, and 2-0 on a 2-out solo shot to left by Yandy Díaz, who hit a 3-2 fastball 3/4s of the way up the seats on the way to the concourse.
Lester worked his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the second, after the Nationals tied it up in the bottom of the first, but in the top of the third, Wander Franco singled to start the frame, then scored two outs later on a two-run home run to left by Mike Zunino, who hit his second home run in two days out to left field to make it 4-2.
It was 6-4 Nationals when Lester came out in the fourth and gave up a leadoff walk to Mike Brousseau and a two-out, RBI double to right field by Randy Arozarena, who made it a one-run game with his 14th two-bagger, 6-5.
With the score 7-5 after four, Lester came back out with a 15-pitch, 1-2-3 fifth which ended his outing.
Jon Lester’s Line: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 3 Ks, 2 HRs, 96 P, 54 S, 4/6 GO/FO.
Rasmussen vs Washington: Drew Rasmussen, 25, was acquired by the Rays, along with J.P. Feyereisen, in a trade that sent Willy Adames and Trevor Richards to the Brewers last month, and the right-hander, who debuted in the majors last season, made three appearances out of the Tampa Bay bullpen, tossing 3 2⁄3 scoreless in which he walked two, struck out seven, and held hitters to a .083/.214/.083 line, before he was tabbed to be the opener today in the second game of two in D.C.
Rasmussen took the mound with a 2-0 lead, but he gave it back four batters in. Trea Turner singled with one out, after Kyle Schwarber [gasp] K’d swinging to start the home-half of the first, then Juan Soto walked in the next at bat, and after a slick double steal, both Nationals’ runners scored on an RBI single back up the middle off Josh Bell’s bat, 2-2.
Drew Rasmussen’s Line: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 Ks, 26 P, 17 S, 2/1 GO/FO.
Bullpen Action: Ryan Sherriff took over for the Rays in the bottom of the seventh, and hit Kyle Schwarber, which, how dare you, then gave up a double to left by Trea Turner to put two on with one out in front of Juan Soto, who singled to left field to make it a 4-3 game.
Josh Bell, from the right side against the Rays’ lefty, hit a low liner over short on an 0-2 slider to bring Turner in, tie it up, and knock Sherriff out.
Andrew Kittredge took over as the Rays’ pitching parade rolled on, and he gave up a base-loading single to left by Yan Gomes, and Starlin Castro beat the shift with a two-run single to right, 6-4 Nationals. A wild pitch moved Gomes and Castro into scoring position, but that is where they were stranded two outs later.
Michael Wacha took over in a 6-5 game in the Nationals’ favor in the fourth, and retired the first two batters he faced, but Trea Turner hit a 96 MPH first-pitch fastball out to right for a solo home run and his third hit of the night (single, 2B, HR, aka a triple short of the cycle), 7-5.
Jordy Mercer hit his first home run of the season out to left on an 0-1 changeup up in the zone from Wacha in the bottom of the fifth, 8-5.
Andres Machado made his Nationals debut in the top of the sixth, taking over for Lester, and picked up two Ks, (one looking), in a 13-pitch, 1-2-3 frame.
Trea Turner lined one to right on a 1-1 cutter from Wacha in the bottom of the sixth, and he didn’t even think of stopping at second, racing around the basepaths and sliding in safely at third for a triple and the cycle, his third career cycle, which tied for the most in MLB history, then Juan Soto drove him in with a single to make it a 9-5 game.
Most Exciting Play in Baseball - Field View:
Starlin Castro drove Soto in with a home run to center off Wacha to make it an 11-5 game in the Nationals’ favor. Castro’s 3rd of 2021.
Machado returned to the mound in the top of the seventh and retired the side in order in a 14-pitch frame. Two scoreless on 27 pitches in his debut with the Nationals.
J.P. Feyeriesen, acquired in the Rasmussen trade mentioned above, worked around a Josh Harrison single for a scoreless seventh.
Ryne Harper got the eighth for the Nationals, and worked around a two-out single for a scoreless frame.
Pete Fairbanks gave up a leadoff walk to Josh Bell, threw a wild pitch that allowed Bell to take second, and surrendered an RBI single by Yan Gomes, 12-5 Nationals, and 14-5 on a bases-loaded, two-run double by Josh Harrison later in the Nationals’ eighth.
Victor Robles hit a pinch hit sac fly to bring in the Nats’ 15th run of the game.
Kyle Lobstein came on for the Nationals in the ninth and gave up a one-out single and walk before Davey Martinez went to the pen for Kyle McGowin, who finished off the win, after a run scored on a two-out RBI single to center by Wander Franco, 15-6.
Final Score: 15-6 Nationals
Nationals now 40-38