BALTIMORE — Four at bats, four hits and an unforgettable cycle in just six innings of work.
“Beyond amazing. An epic night,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said after Austin Hays became the sixth player in Orioles history to hit for the cycle.
Hays completed the feat with a sixth-inning brace amid a steady shower and shortly before play was stopped for good in Baltimore’s 7-0 win over the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night.
Hays was successful while leading at bat in place of Cedric Mullins, who had the night off. Facing Nationals left-hander Patrick Corbin, Hays got a field single in the first inning, had a solo shot in the third and tripled in the fourth.
That apparently gave the 26-year-old outfielder plenty of time to tack on the double that would see him join Hall of Famers Brooks Robinson and Cal Ripken Jr. in the Orioles record books.
But heavy rain threatened to end the game in the mid-fifth.
“We came in and it became unclear whether we were going to finish the game or not,” Hays said. “I wasn’t sure with more rain to come if I was going to get the opportunity.”
Although play resumed after a 44-minute delay, soon after it started to rain again. He was falling hard in the sixth when Hays completed the cycle with a double through Steve Cishek’s cross.
“It was crazy,” Hays said. “I was really thinking about it. I thought I had a slider hanging in the middle of the plate. Sure enough, Cishek hooked a slider right there.”
As he stood in the rain, Hays smiled broadly as he held on to second base.
“It was a really cool feeling,” he said. “Goosebumps hit me just as I touched second base.”
Play was halted again after Baltimore’s four-point sixth, and the tarp never came off.
The last Baltimore player to hit for the cycle was Jonathan Villar against the Yankees on August 5, 2019. Before that, Robinson, Ripken, Aubrey Huff and Felix Pie did.
Since Hays’ effort was completed in the sixth inning, it was earlier in the game than the previous five in club history, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.