On Wednesday, August 2, 2017, Rays’ third baseman Evan Longoria became just the 2nd player in Tampa Bay Rays history to hit for the cycle in a 6-4 win over the Astros. The only other Ray to ever complete a cycle was B.J. Upton (now Melvin Upton Jr.) on October 2, 2009, against the New York Yankees.
In the top of the first, with a runner at second, Longoria hit a high and deep fly ball to left field that cleared the fence for a home run. Then, in the top of the third inning, Longoria hit a ground ball down the first base line that rolled all the way into the right field corner scoring Duda from second and giving Longoria the hardest part of the cycle with a triple. Longoria later tacked on a single in the seventh and in the top of the ninth with two outs Longoria came up needing a double for the cycle.
He hit a line drive to left field that should have only gone for a single but Evan Longoria, with the cycle in mind, chugged it all the way to second and slid in head first and was called out. Longoria’s chances at a cycle were over right? Wrong. The Rays challenged the call and after a relatively quick deliberation the call was overturned and one of the greatest players in Rays history had his first career cycle.
Longoria’s was the sixth cycle to take place in the 2017 MLB season. The previous players to do so this year were Wil Myers, Trea Turner, Carlos Gomez, Nolan Arenado, and Cody Bellinger. Evan Longoria became the 310th player in MLB history to hit for the cycle going 4-5. Longoria also joins Luis Gonzalez, Jeff Bagwell, Luke Scott, George Kottaras, and Brandon Barnes as the only players to hit for the Cycle in Minute Maid Park (he was just the third visiting player to do so).
Longoria’s cycle lead the Rays to a win over the Astros bringing them within 1.5 games of the Wild Card. The ballclub in Tampa is now at a 55-53 record and is desperately trying to get a second Wild Card spot from the Royals since the Yankees and Red Sox have made the division almost impossible to win for the Rays who are sitting just above .500. The Rays are definitely going to need more games like this one to have a shot in the Not So Wild Card Race.