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Orioles’ Austin Hays hits for historic cycle: “Epic night”

BALTIMORE – Four at bats, four hits, 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 middle of the fifth.

Austin Hays scores a brace in the sixth inning to complete the cycle in the Orioles’ 7-0 cut short victory over the Nationals.
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“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. I was really thinking about it,” Hays said. “I thought I had a slider hanging out 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.

Anthony Santander and Trey Mancini also homered for the Orioles, who earned a two-game Interleague Series split between neighboring rivals.

Corbin (3-10) allowed three runs and seven hits in four innings. He’s allowed two home runs in each of his last three starts and has a high 6.60 ERA.

After Ryan Mountcastle scored an RBI double in the first set, Corbin worked a perfect second. But Hays opened the third with a blast to left field on an 0-2 count and slipped the team’s “chain of home runs” around his neck after reaching the dugout.

Two batters later, Hays handed the chain to Santander, who drilled a 3-0 pitch on the center field wall.

Baltimore starter Tyler Wells (5-4) took the win with five shutout innings, recording the final just before the initial rain delay. Wells allowed just three hits but walked four, a season high. Still, it was the 13th consecutive start in which he limited the opposition to three points or less.

“It’s a pretty special night,” Wells said. “Obviously the big story is Hays.”

Nick Vespi pitched the sixth to earn his first career save.