SEATTLE – The Toronto Blue Jays brought a whole new meaning to baserunning incompetence Sunday, gifting the Seattle Mariners a ridiculous triple play that we might go our entire baseball-watching lives not seeing again.
With runners at first and third and no outs in the fourth inning, Blue Jays batter Ryan Goins hit a sharp ground ball right to first baseman Mark Trumbo. Trumbo touched the bag to record the first out of the inning, but the play was far from over.
Kevin Pillar, the runner who had been at first, was caught between first and second. Trumbo threw over to second to stop Pillar but Ezequiel Carrera, the runner at third, broke toward home and the Mariners shifted their focus to Carrera.
Shortstop Brad Miller ran toward Carrera with ball in hand and then threw to catcher Mike Zunino. While the Mariners had Carrera stuck in a rundown between third and home, Pillar made his way to third. With Pillar arriving to the base, Carrera retreated and soon they both stood on the bag. Zunino stepped on third, which meant the trailing runner Pillar was out. However, Carrera then comically fell off the base (with perhapse some help from third base coach Luis Rivera) and Zunino tagged him out too to complete the 11th triple play in Mariners franchise history.
What an unbelievable turn of events. Somehow, Toronto went from having two runners on and no outs with the top of their powerful lineup coming up after Goins to being out of the inning after a groundball to first.
We know triple plays are rare, but just how rare was this specific combination with a putout at first base and the catcher recording the other two outs?
According to the comprehensive SABR triple play database, it was the second time it had happened in a major-league game. The first and only other time was in 1955 during a game between the Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Athletics.
It's a piece of history the Mariners will gladly take while the Blue Jays will try their best to do whatever they can to distance themselves from their embarrassing gaffes on the basepaths. Going onto lose Sunday's game 6-5 after Franklin Gutierrez hit a walk off home run in the bottom of the 10th for Seattle won't help them forget it though.
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