St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado became the fourth player to hit for the cycle this Major League Baseball season on Friday night in a 5-3 loss against the Philadelphia Phillies (box score). Arenado had previously hit for the cycle as a member of the Colorado Rockies in June 2017 against the San Francisco Giants.
Arenado scratched off the most difficult parts of the cycle early on. He hit his first triple of the season in the first inning, plating Paul Goldschmidt to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead. Arenado drove in Goldschmidt again in the third when he delivered his 15th home run. His blast put up St. Louis by a 3-0 margin. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, that was the final run they scored on the evening.
No one can blame Arenado for that. In the sixth inning, he doubled to left field. Then, in the eighth, he completed the cycle by hitting an infield single, albeit one that could have been called an error on third baseman Matt Vierling. Take a look:
Arenado's cycle was the first hit by a Cardinals player since Mark Grudzielanek authored his own against the Milwaukee Brewers in 2005.
Arenado, 31, entered Friday hitting .278/.341/.495 (138 OPS+) with 14 home runs in his first 74 games. His contributions had been estimated to be worth 3.5 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference's calculations. For reference, Baseball Reference's model had Arenado worth 4.1 Wins Above Replacement in 2021.
Prior to Arenado, the most recent cycle had been notched by Baltimore Orioles outfielder Austin Hays on June 22. Los Angeles outfielder Jared Walsh (June 11), New York Mets third baseman Eduardo Escobar (June 6), and Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich (May 11) have also accomplished the feat this year.