It's not quite as rare as viewing a solar eclipse, but most baseball fans measure the time between seeing a triple play in years, and getting to see one live? Well, you can be a season ticket holder, attend dozens of games a year for many years, and never see one unfold. So the lucky folks at Fenway Park last night will be saving their ticket stubs after watching the Boston Red Sox turn their first triple play in six years in a wild 10-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.
A number of pieces have to fall into place for a triple killing, and they all did in the top of the fourth inning, with runners on first and second and nobody out, Yadier Molina stepped to the plate and hit a ground ball to third, putting the play in motion. Rookie sensation Rafael Devers, who's been so good hitting the ball since his call-up to the bigs, was the critical actor on defense, gathering up the ball and calmly taking a couple of steps backward to touch third base for out number one. He then made a throw to second for out number two, and with the slow-footed catcher Molina running, out number three was secured on a relay throw to first. Here's a look at how it went down:
Rick Porcello was the beneficiary of that defensive gem and went on to win his third consecutive start after going more than a month without a win, but the real help he got was in the following fifth inning, when the Red Sox had batters coming to the plate like they were on a conveyer belt, churning out eight hits and eight run to build up a 9-0 lead and put the game away. Hanley Ramirez smacked a two-run double off the Monster with the bases loaded, and just about every batter in the line-up kept hitting RBI singles. St. Louis starter Mike Leake was mercifully lifted in the middle of the onslaught, but his relief corps couldn't stop the bleeding until the eight runs had crossed the plate.
The Red Sox will try to sweep the brief two game series with Eduardo Rodriguez getting the start tonight against Lance Lynn.
The win was necessary for the Red Sox to maintain their four and a half game lead over the NY Yankees as the Yanks got a scare in the ninth but held on to beat the NY Mets 5-4 in the Bronx. Gary Sanchez and Jacoby Ellsbury homered for the Yankees and Sonny Gray finally got his first win in a Yankee uniform since being acquired from the Oakland A's. Gray was excellent, out-dueling a very good pitcher in the Mets' Jacob de Grom, giving up just four singles before being lifted in the seventh inning, and the Yanks took a 5-2 lead into the ninth, but if there's a concern for the Yankees right now it might be the struggles of their hard throwing close Aroldis Chapman, who didn't break but most certainly did bend, yielding an infield single and then giving up a two-run homer to Mets rookie Amed Rosario to make it a 5-4 game.
Yankee fans were no doubt wondering if Chapman would blow another save as he did against the Red Sox last weekend, giving up a game tying home run to Rafael Devers in the ninth. But Chapman did get the final two outs of the game, despite straining his hamstring while covering first base. Chapman said after the game he didn't think it was a serious injury but Yankee manager Joe Girardi does have other relievers on his squad with experience as a closer and I wouldn't be surprised if he turns to David Robertson or Dellin Betances to come on in the ninth the next time the Yankees are trying to preserve a lead and nail down a win.
The Tampa Bay Rays have counted on the long ball this season and they did so again to snap their four game losing skid in a 6-4 win over the Toronto Blue Jays last night. Lucas Duda and Wilson Ramos went yard to back Blake Snell, who went six innings for his first win of the season. Marco Estrada took the loss for Toronto.
In Miami last night the Marlins lost 9-4 to the San Francisco Giants, but Marlins fans, and rumor has it there are some, couldn't care less about the final score. They were there to see if Marlins superstar Giancarlo Stanton could keep his remarkable home run streak going, and he did not disappoint. Stanton hit hs 44th home run of the year, and sixth in his past six games, and with 44 games left in the regular season, the slugger has a very good shot at becoming just the fourth player in baseball history to hit more than 61 home runs in a single season, which would launch him over Roger Maris and into the company of Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, and Barry Bonds, and there are plenty of baseball fans who would immediately attach an asterisk to the totals of that controversial trio, while Stanton has no such performance enhancing suspicions surrounding his current streak of long ball lore.
Finally, in the NY Penn League all star game in Troy, New York last night, the southern all stars beat their northern counterparts 5-2.