WASHINGTON -- One way to celebrate your birthday is by hitting for the cycle.
“Usually my mom makes the requests of what she wants [on my birthday] -- homers and stolen bases and what not,” Turner said.
How about, all of the above?
With a single in the first inning, a double in the third, a home run in the fourth and a lightning-quick triple in the sixth, Turner became the fourth player in the Modern Era to hit for three career cycles.
The other three AL/NL players to hit for the cycle three times since 1900 are Adrián Beltré, Babe Herman and Bob Meusel. Turner joined the elite group in only his seventh Major League season.
“I said, ‘Hey, if the ball goes in the gap, you do not stop at second. Just keep on trucking,’” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “It couldn’t have worked out any better.”
Turner began thinking about the cycle after hitting the home run. But it’s not as simple as one good swing. He believes the feat is a culmination of hitting the ball to all areas of the field, seeing a variety of pitches well -- and a little bit of luck.
“I think if you just have good at-bats and are locked in for a day, you can get lucky and you can get the four that you need,” Turner said. “I don’t know if it’s much more than that. … But I guess I’m blessed to have done it three times, and hopefully more of those to come.”
Turner capped off the achievement with a jaw-dropping sprint speed of 30.3 feet per second on his triple, surpassing the elite mark of 30.0 feet/second. Turner said he was thinking three bases from the moment he left the batter’s box. He read the way the ball bounced in the right-field corner and felt confident as he rounded second.
On the slide into third, Turner jammed his left middle finger. He said he felt “pretty sore” after the game and is considered day to day.
“We’ll see how he feels tomorrow,” Martinez said.
Turner also added on two stolen bases, both in the first inning, bringing his season total to a National League-leading 18.
“I love watching him run,” Martinez said. “For me, a triple is so exciting in the game. To watch Trea turn on the burners like he does, it’s really amazing.”
Turner has a head-turning pace of one cycle every two seasons. His first two cycles occurred on April 25, 2017, and July 23, 2019 (both against the Rockies).
“Obviously you’ve got to hit the ball well, which takes skill and whatnot, but just hitting the right hits at the right time is a little bit of luck,” Turner said. “So I got lucky today.”
After struggling to hit for power this month, Turner has homered in three of his last four games. His dinger on Wednesday traveled 400 feet, per Statcast.
He also had a birthday breakout in a big way. Prior to this year, Turner was 2-for-8 with three strikeouts and no extra-base hits in two birthday games.
“I don’t usually have expectations for myself on my birthday,” Turner said. “I’m usually the guy that thinks that I’ll probably strike out a bunch and play bad. So anything more than that, I’ll take.”