In last night’s 6-4 Tampa win in Houston, Evan Longoria hit for the second cycle in the Rays’ history (following B.J. Upton’s in 2009). Had Longoria gone for his in those olden days, it wouldn’t have counted, as he’d have been called out going for the ninth-inning, two-out double that he needed to complete it. But we live in the future! Instant replay is here to make sure our meaningless-but-exciting statistical flukes get it right.
Longoria kicked off his night with a homer, then finished things with a liner to left. Watch him chug around first, nothing but the double and the cycle on his mind. (“It could have been caught and I wouldn’t have known it,” Longoria said, “because I put my head down and was running as hard as I could.”)
Longoria was called out at second, but a relatively speedy replay review (1:05) determined that he had gotten in ahead of Jose Altuve’s tag, just barely.
Elias says it’s the first cycle since expanded instant replay was introduced in 2014 to feature a review on one of the hits, and would also appear to be the first since limited replay on home runs and boundary calls debuted in 2008. I know a lot of people—some of them at this very site—aren’t fans of replay for the way it lengthens and breaks up the game, but I just can’t get past the fact that it’s better to get a call right than not. Especially when there’s something on the line.
The Rays desperately needed this win against the AL-best Astros, having lost nine of their previous 12 and drifting away from the wild card race. Now they’re tied with Seattle and 1.5 games back of Kansas City for the second wild card spot. And, oh, hey: Longoria’s getting hot. He’s hitting .354 with five homers and 17 RBI in his last 24 games.