Top Ten Moment #8: Carlos Gomez hits for the cycle.
April 29. It was early in the season, and the Rangers were still trying to get a feel for what they were going to be. After an opening series sweep at the hand of the Cleveland Indians, it was apparent what they were going to be was in for a long season.
The Rangers won a respectable ten of their next twenty, though. They came into an early season Saturday night game against the Los Angeles Mike Trouts with a 10-13 record, trying to get some sort of rhythm. Trying to get some sort of momentum going.
Yu Darvish was on the mound for Texas. Jesse Chavez for Los Anaheim. Carlos Gomez was in center for the Rangers.
He came into the game slumping, batting just .205 with just three home runs and eight RBIs in his first twenty-three games. For some reason, that was good enough to bat him third in the lineup that day. It wasn’t Reverse Lineup day, either, I checked.
In his first at-bat in the bottom of the first, Gomez hit a line drive to left. As he was stretching it to a double, he lost his cleat, so he hobbled to second with a shoe on only one foot. But he got the double. And, in typical Rangers fashion, he was stranded there, newly re-shod.
In the bottom of the third, scoreless, with one out and a runner at first, he hit an infield single that nearly took off the face of the Angels second baseman. And, in typical Rangers fashion, the next batter grounded into a double play.
Gomez came up to bat again in the bottom of the fifth. By this time, the Rangers had just broken through with a run. Mazara singled in Lucroy with two outs to make cut the lead to 2-1. Gomez tripled to right center to tie the game. Then in atypical Rangers fashion, piled on. They scored on a rare home run by Rougned Odor, which put the Rangers up for good at 4-2.
When Gomez came up on the seventh inning, he needed a home run for the cycle. Hitting for the cycle is weird. A lot is made of it. Fanfare. Blaring of the trumpets. A mention on Sports Center. It’s treated as reverently as a no-hitter or something. But it’s not as much a feat as it is an oddity. Nobody in the history of baseball has ever gone to any ballpark and said, “Boy, I’d like to see a cycle today.” I once saw a pitch hit the batter in the crotch then carom directly into the umpire’s crotch and they both bent over in agony. That was rarer than a cycle. And, frankly, I’d like to see that again before I’d want to see another cycle.
Even so, Gomez didn’t waste any time. On the first pitch that he saw in the seventh from Angels reliever Jose Valdez, with Delino Deshields on second, Gomez drove the ball over the wall in center field. It was a no-doubter majestic shot. When it landed, the Rangers had a 6-2 lead. And Carlos Gomez had the second cycle of his career, and first for a Ranger since Adrian Beltre did it in 2015.
Double. Single. Triple. Home run. Three RBIs.
And a Rangers win.
And a cleat malfunction to boot.