WASHINGTON (AP) — Trea Turner knows better than most what it takes to hit for a cycle. The key, he says, is quite a bit of good luck.
Turner hit his second career cycle, Stephen Strasburg earned his major league-leading 13th win and the Washington Nationals routed the Colorado Rockies 11-1 Tuesday night.
Turner led off the first inning with homer, singled in the second and tripled leading off the fifth. After grounding into a double play in the sixth, he doubled home a run during Washington’s eight-run seventh.
“Didn’t screw it up this time,” Turner said. “Had a chance earlier in the year to do it and needed a single and didn’t do it. For me it’s almost more funny than anything that I got lucky enough to get the right hits. I think it’s kind of a lucky stat because you’ve got to put the ball in the right place at the right time.”
It was the fourth cycle for the Nationals since relocating to Washington in 2005, half of them by Turner against the Rockies. He’s the 26th player to hit for multiple cycles and the third to do it twice against the same team after Fred Clark (1901, 1903 versus Cincinnati) and Christian Yelich (2018 versus Miami), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
“Too be able to do it twice, that to me is a testament to how good a player Trea really is,” manager Dave Martinez said. “What I like about him is that he’s really staying on top of the ball and back-spinning balls. When he does that, he hits the ball hard.”
Turner increased his average to .286, and the team’s resurgence has coincided with his return after missing 38 games with a broken finger.
Strasburg (13-4) pitched six innings for his sixth straight win as the Nationals kicked off a 10-game homestand. He allowed three hits and two walks while striking out eight. The right-hander is 10-1 with a 3.17 ERA over his past 12 starts.
“He had the curveball going tonight,” Colorado’s Ryan McMahon said. “He kind of was throwing it when guys weren’t expecting it. Throwing it well, too. He kept the ball down really well, went up when he wanted to.”
Colorado rookie Peter Lambert (2-2) gave up three runs and nine hits. He struck out eight with a walk but is winless in his last six games.
The Rockies, who have lost seven of eight, had exactly one baserunner in five of six innings against Strasburg.
“They’ve got a pretty lengthy lineup there and guys who can hit the ball out of the ballpark, but you’ve just got to be in the moment and try to make one pitch,” Strasburg said.
Strasburg singled his first time up, giving him hits in four straight at-bats before he grounded out in the fourth inning. Martinez joked that Strasburg might pinch hit during Wednesday’s day-night doubleheader.
“No, streak’s over,” Strasburg said. “I’ll take a day.”
Former Nationals Ian Desmond (2009-15) and Daniel Murphy (2016-18) returned to Nationals Park. Both received warm ovations and tipped their helmets to the crowd before their second inning at-bats. Desmond went 1 for 3 and Murphy was 0 for 4. Desmond is the last player drafted by the Montreal Expos still active in the majors.
Nationals: Martinez said RHP Max Scherzer (inflammation under his right shoulder) felt good after Monday’s workout and is slated to pitch the series finale Thursday. ... Martinez said RHP Austin Voth (right biceps tendinitis) threw Monday and didn’t feel well. Voth will have an MRI this week.
Rockies: RHP Jon Gray (9-7, 4.11) pitches the opener of Wednesday’s doubleheader. Gray is 5-5 with a 4.29 ERA in 11 road starts this season. LHP Kyle Freeland (2-7, 7.62) will start the night game.
Nationals: RHP Erick Fedde (1-1, 3.50) will pitch the day game and LHP Patrick Corbin (7-5, 3.40) will pitch at night. Corbin has a 1.85 ERA with 50 strikeouts and eight walks over his past six starts. Washington is 5-1 in those games.