HOUSTON -- Evan Longoria became the second player in team history to hit for the cycle when he did so on Tuesday night in the Rays' 6-4 win over the Astros at Minute Maid Park."[Cycles] obviously don't come very often, so I was definitely thinking about it," Longoria said. "I
HOUSTON -- Evan Longoria became the second player in team history to hit for the cycle when he did so on Tuesday night in the Rays' 6-4 win over the Astros at Minute Maid Park.
"[Cycles] obviously don't come very often, so I was definitely thinking about it," Longoria said. "I felt good at the plate from the beginning tonight. But it's tough when you're thinking about it. I probably would have been a little bit more confident or comfortable if I only needed a single. But it was kind of surreal."
Longoria stepped to the plate with two outs in the ninth needing a double to complete the feat. He promptly hit a ball down the left-field line and turned on the jets toward second, finishing with a head-first slide as the ball arrived and the tag came down. He was called out initially, but after a crew-chief review, the call was overturned and Longoria was in the history books. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this cycle was the first in MLB since the start of 2014 to feature a review or challenge on any of the hits.
"Longo, that's a pretty special day for him, in his career," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "... Pretty awesome to be a part of that. It was impressive how he hit first base and he looked like Mallex [Smith] running around. He could smell it. So that was exciting."
Longoria joined Melvin Upton Jr. as Rays players who have accomplished the rare feat. Upton hit for the cycle against the Yankees on Oct. 2, 2009, in St. Petersburg.
"I definitely remember [Upton] doing it," Longoria said. "It's a tough thing to do, and I'm very proud, for sure."
Longoria's cycle was the sixth at Minute Maid Park, and the third by an opposing player.
"Congratulations to him. That's a good accomplishment," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said.
Longoria homered in the first, connecting for a two-run shot off Astros starter Mike Fiers. The 404-foot barreled blast had a 104.8-mph exit velocity with a 35-degree launch angle and gave the Rays a 2-0 lead.
He had an RBI triple in the third inning in his next at-bat and scored on Adeiny Hechavarria's single to right. The run was the 766th of Longoria's career, which moved him past Carl Crawford for the most in club history.
Longoria's seventh-inning single set the stage for the ninth-inning drama.
For the night, Longoria was 4-for-5 with three RBIs, serving as a microcosm of how he's been hitting lately. He is definitely heating up, hitting .354 with seven doubles, five home runs and 17 RBIs in his last 24 games.
"I think I always play a little better in the second half," Longoria said. "It takes me a little while to heat up. And sometimes that's tough to deal with, because I feel like we could have won a few more games if I'd been more productive early on. But you get into that quote, unquote midseason form and you start to feel a little better. Hopefully I can continue that. As an offense tonight overall, I felt like we were much better than we've been, keeping things going and tacking runs on."
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.