Turner wows with 2 HRs ... in the same inning

Shortstop's dingers lead off and cap Phillies' eight-run eighth inning vs. Nationals

August 20th, 2023

WASHINGTON – When smacked a go-ahead home run against his former club in the eighth inning on Saturday afternoon, it looked like it would stand as the highlight of the Phillies' 12-3 win over the Nationals. But the shortstop quickly one-upped himself, and in historic fashion.

Turner became the first Phillies player in more than 38 years to homer twice in the same inning when he took Cory Abbott deep again to cap an eight-run eighth, sending Philadelphia into Sunday’s Little League Classic riding high and maintaining its lead atop the National League Wild Card race.

The come-from-behind victory inched the Phillies to three games over the Giants for the first NL Wild Card spot, with San Francisco losing in Atlanta on Saturday evening. With head-to-head record determining tiebreakers in the standings, the Phils are 0-3 against the Giants this season, with the final three matchups of their season series looming next week.

“The first home run, everybody is excited, because we just took the lead,” said third baseman Nick Castellanos, whose three-run blast tied the game in the seventh. “After the second home run, Kyle [Schwarber] and I looked at each other like, ‘He booked the same guy in the same inning?’ I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before.”

Turner socked a 107.3 mph solo home run off Abbott to open the eighth, snapping a 3-3 tie in a game the Phillies had been held scoreless in until Castellanos’ homer in the seventh. Philadelphia then batted around, adding runs off Abbott via two run-scoring singles, a sacrifice fly and Bryson Stott’s three-run tater. That brought up Turner, who crushed another Abbott pitch into the left-field seats, further igniting a Philly-heavy sellout crowd of 38,853 and etching his name into the club’s record books.

“The Phillies have always done well against me,” Abbott said. “They own me.”

Turner is only the third player in franchise history to homer twice in the same inning, and he is the first since Von Hayes on June 11, 1985, against the Mets (first inning). Andy Seminick also did it on June 2, 1949, against the Reds (eighth inning). So the 30-year-old Turner is the first Phillie to do it since eight years before he was born.

“It’s my tenth year [in the Majors], and I’m still seeing things for the first time,” Castellanos said.

That’s because the last time a player homered twice in the same inning off the same pitcher, neither Castellanos nor Turner had even been drafted yet. Turner is only the seventh player since 1974 to do it, and the first since David Ortiz on Aug. 12, 2008, against Scott Feldman. He is only the fourth shortstop with a two-homer inning of any kind since 1974, and the first since Juan Uribe on Sept. 23, 2010.

“I’m usually the guy who makes two outs in those kinds of innings,” Turner said.

Turner knew he got the first one.

He spent too many years in the nation’s capital, hit too many balls like that, heard the Nationals Park crowd rise to a crescendo too many times not to know. That sound. That feeling.

Turner got all of it. And it wasn’t just him -- everyone knew it.

And then, in the blink of an eye, he did it again.

“I think it's in Trea’s personality that he might just shrug it off,” Castellanos said. “Not care and just worry about who’s pitching tomorrow.”

Signed to a massive 11-year, $300 million contract this winter, Turner hasn't had the easiest transition in his first season in the City of Brotherly Love. But right now, he’s playing about as well as he has all year, having reached base safely in 13 of his past 14 games and slashing .370/.414/.704 with 10 extra-base hits over that stretch.

“Mentally, I’ve been better off, and physically, I am doing some things better,” Turner said. “The last two weeks, I’ve just felt a little more normal.”

As manager Rob Thomson surmised this weekend: “I think he’s settling in.”