Guzman hits for cycle
08/28/2008 11:55 PM ETBy Bill Ladson / MLB.com
WASHINGTON -- Nationals shortstop Cristian Guzman hit for the cycle in an 11-2 victory over the Dodgers on Thursday night at Nationals Park. Guzman is the second player in Nationals history to perform the feat. Outfielder Brad Wilkerson did it against the Philllies on April 6, 2005.
"I feel great. As you can see, I'm still sweating," the switch-hitting Guzman said. "It's hard to do. When other players do it, you feel great and happy."
In the first inning, with left-hander Clayton Kershaw on the mound, Guzman homered over the left-field wall to cut the Dodgers' lead to 2-1. An inning later, Guzman singled to center and tried to stretch it to a double but was called out. Three innings later, Guzman doubled off Ramon Troncoso to drive in a run.
It wasn't until the eighth inning that Guzman realized he needed a triple for the cycle. When he got to the on-deck circle, he heard his teammates encouraging him to go for the rare feat.
"Everybody was saying, 'Hit the triple, hit the triple.' And I said, 'Ok, I'll try.'"
Guzman knew he had a shot when he saw left-hander Joe Beimel take the mound. Guzman is familiar with Beimel because the two were teammates with the Twins. Guzman then hit a one-out triple to left-center field to drive in Aaron Boone, completing his feat.
"The moment I hit the ball, I said I was going to third," Guzman said.
Manager Manny Acta acknowledged that he was concerned about Boone scoring all the way from first because the veteran is coming off a calf injury. But Boone said he didn't have any problems running the bases.
"It was nice [for Guzman]. I was fine," Boone said. "The ball was in the gap. Let's get to steppin'!"
The team could be seen jumping for joy in the dugout after Guzman reached third.
"We were all going crazy because it's a good thing for him," pitcher Jason Bergman said. "And if it's good for him, to see a smile on his face, it's good for our team. And we'd like to be a little happier around here.
"It was a great feeling in a season of not-so-happy memories. We have been playing well of late. It's just good to see a smile on everybody's face."
Dodgers manager Joe Torre was impressed by what Guzman accomplished and said the shortstop turned the game around in the Nationals' favor.
"He had a good night, no question," Torre said of Guzman. "He sort of took the air out of our sails -- hit the home run in the first inning [when] we had the lead. He's got ability. I've seen this kid for a while. He has a special ability."
During the three-game series against the Dodgers, Guzman went 9-for-13 with a home run and four RBIs, proving that he is over his left thumb injury.
"Before he hurt his thumb, he was our most consistent hitter, so it seems like he's healthy now and feeling better. It was very nice," Acta said.