Evan Longoria hit for the cycle on Tuesday night in a 6-4 win over the Astros. The Rays third baseman knocked a double to left field in the ninth inning to complete the feat, notching the sixth cycle of the MLB season and just the second one in Rays history. Melvin Upton Jr. hit for the cycle for Tampa Bay on Oct. 2, 2009.
Longoria was initially called out at second after busting it to try and stretch a single into a double. A replay showed that he did indeed reach the corner of the bag before Jose Altuve could apply the tag, and Longoria was called safe after a review. After completing the cycle that almost never was, Longoria raised his hands in triumph.
Longoria went 4-5 on the night with 3 RBIs, a performance that helped the Rays pick up a crucial road win. Tampa Bay had lost four of five coming into Tuesday's game and had fallen to six games back of the Yankees in the loss column. That's particularly disappointing when you consider that the Rays were (for once) buyer's at the deadline, pulling off moves for first baseman Lucas Duda, as well as relievers Dan Jennings and Steve Chisek.
With the victory, the Rays are just 1.5 games back of the Royals for the second and final AL Wild Card spot.
Hitting for the cycle is essentially a statistical anomaly and does predict a player's long-term success, but Longoria's performance is no fluke. The three-time All-Star is having a solid season, batting .276/.328/.429 with 17 homers and 65 RBIs.
He'll need to continue to perform well if Tampa Bay is to keep pace with the Yankees and Red Sox, both of which were active buyers at the trade deadline.