It was 60 years ago the last time an MLB team turned a triple play like the Mariners did in the fourth inning Sunday against the Blue Jays. Here's how it all went down.
You never know when you might see something in a baseball game that you’ve never seen before, and on Sunday, the Mariners did something no one has seen since 1955.
In the fourth inning against the Blue Jays, the Mariners recorded the 11th triple play in team history and the first since 2010. But this one might have claim to being the strangest of all. It was the first 3-6-2-2 triple play in the majors since 1955 and only the second in the history of the game.
Here’s the scene: The Blue Jays had Kevin Pillar on first and Ezequiel Carrera on third with no outs in the third inning when things got weird:
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• Ryan Goins hit a grounder to first baseman Mark Trumbo. Trumbo got the force-out at first and looked at the runner on third. But he was surprised to turn and see that Pillar had stopped running and was caught between first and second, so he threw to shortstop Brad Miller at second.
“It’s just a reaction play, so my instinct was to check the runner at third, tag first and then assess where we needed to go from there,” Trumbo said. “But when I looked up it seemed like he was trying to draw a throw.”
• While that was going on, Carrera left third base and Miller threw home to catcher Mike Zunino.
• Zunino chased Carrera back to third, at which point Pillar was also standing on third.
• So Zunino tagged Carrera (who at that point was safe) and then tagged Pillar (who by rule was out). “They teach you as a defender just to tag everybody and tell them they’re out,” Miller said. “Seriously, that’s what you do: ‘You’re out, you’re out.’ Obviously there was some confusion.”
• But as Zunino tagged Pillar, Carrera somehow fell off the base and Zunino tagged him for the third out.
That’s how we got a 3-6-2-2 triple play. Got it?
Taijuan Walker understood the status of his team’s bullpen on Sunday: The Mariners were a “mess,” manager Lloyd McClendon said, and that meant Walker needed to give Seattle innings.
Walker labored early, giving up four runs in the first two innings and seeing his pitch count rise. But he turned in four scoreless innings after that. Walker gave up four runs (three earned) in six innings, while striking out six and walking three.
“I think that’s another step forward for a young pitcher that we think is going to be a pretty darn good pitcher for a long, long time,” McClendon said. “I made those comments to him after the game: I thought he grew up even more under very, very adverse conditions with not his best stuff.”
Added Miller, “I think Taijuan did a great job. He could have packed it in, and he really kept fighting.”
• The Mariners still had to lean on their bullpen. David Rollins gave up a solo home run on the first pitch to the first batter he faced, but limited the damage to that. Mark Lowe pitched two scoreless innings. And Joe Beimel, whom McClendon was hoping not to have to use on Sunday, also pitched a scoreless inning.
Had it gone to the 11th inning, McClendon had Fernando Rodney warming up.
“We squeezed water out of Beimel today, and Rodney really shouldn’t have been up, but he was the last man standing,” McClendon said. “I’m not sure how long he was going to go, but he was going to be out there for a while.”
• Before the game, McClendon was asked if he had any thoughts on what his plans for the future with Rodney were. He replied, “I do, but I’m not ready to share.”