By Ben Sullivan
Trae Turner bagged his record-tying third career cycle by hitting a sixth-inning triple for the Nats, who breezed to a 15-6 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.
The speedy shortstop became the fifth player in major league history with three cycles, joining Adrian Beltre, Babe Herman, Bob Meusel and John Reilly, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Turner joins a club that is as old-fashioned as it is exclusive.
Aside from Beltre, the others with three cycles got them before the mid-1930s.
“I think it’s luck, it’s tools to be able to hit for power and have at least some speed,” Turner said. “I remember when Adrian Beltre did it a little while ago, I remember thinking it was pretty interesting that he’s tied for the lead with three. Because you don’t picture him as a speed guy.”
Turner singled in the first off Tampa Bay opener Drew Rasmussen, doubled in the third against Ryan Sherriff (0-1), then hit his 14th homer in the fourth off Michael Wacha.
Ryan Zimmerman pinch-hit in the seventh for Turner, who jammed his finger on his slide but is day-to-day.
“It’s just a testament to what a good hitter he is,” Martinez said of Turner. “When he’s going good, there’s no telling where he can hit the ball, and hit the ball with power.
The contemporary offense came from the rest of the Nationals.
Starlin Castro hit his third homer, singled and drove in four. Josh Bell drove in three and Juan Soto had three hits and two RBI.
Jordy Mercer added his first homer of the season for the Nationals, who pounded out 18 hits and have homered 24 times since June 19.
Washington scored four in the third, three in the sixth and four more in the eighth.
Jon Lester (2-3) allowed five runs on seven hits over five innings, striking out three and walking two.
Mike Zunino hit his 18th home run and fourth in his last five games for Tampa Bay. Díaz added his third for the Rays, who lost their eighth consecutive road game.
“I’m happy for Z,” Cash said of Zunino, a catcher now batting .210 with 36 RBI. “I’d like to see him get on that All-Star team. He’s played like an All-Star for us.”
Sherriff allowed four runs and retired only two batters after entering to start the third on the same day he was recalled from Triple-A Durham.