Of the notable offseason acquisitions of a busy Mets offseason, Eduardo Escobar was the slowest starter out of the gates.
The infielder who hit 27 home runs and posted a .786 OPS last season with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Milwaukee Brewers was slashing just .203/.307.336 (643 OPS) through his first 39 games of the season on May 21.
Since then, over his last 14 games, he’s slashing .333/.323/.600 (.923 OPS) with three home runs and 13 RBI — but Monday night in San Diego was his finest performance yet.
Escobar became just the 11th Mets player in franchise history to hit for the cycle, going 4-for-5 with six RBI and three runs scored in New York’s 11-5 victory over the Padres — their third straight after dropping the first two games of their west-coast road trip to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“It’s unbelievable,” Escobar said (h/t MLB.com). “It’s hard, hitting the cycle at this level. Today is a special night for me.”
The gaudy statline was supplemented by timely hitting — most notably, his two-run triple in the top of the ninth helped put the Padres away after cutting a healthy Mets lead to just two runs at 7-5.
It was quite clear how much it meant to him and his teammates, as the 33-year-old pumping his fist toward a Mets dugout adorned with players leaning over the railing in celebration.
“For any guy, it’s fun to watch, but especially him,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “You know how much he means to his teammates. It’s almost like they hit it.”
Forget how rare the cycle is in franchise history, but consider this: In Major League Baseball history, a player had hit for the cycle with at least six RBI and three runs scored just 20 times before.
It had only happened five times since 1990 and the list features legends ranging from Napoleon Lajoie to Pie Traynor, to Joe DiMaggio, and Ralph Kiner.