Something happened in a Major League Baseball game Monday night that had never occurred in the history of the sport.
It was a triple play, which is rare enough, but it was an “8-5” triple play and came in a 10-inning 6-3 Minnesota Twins win over the home team Chicago White Sox. The numerical designation means it was started by the centerfielder, the Twins’ Byron Buxton, and finished by third baseman Gio Urshela.
“You’re going to spend the rest of your life watching games and you can watch five a day and you’re not going to see an 8-5 triple play,” White Sox play-by-play man Jason Benetti said. “But that‘s exactly what you saw here because nobody tagged up and then, the tag on Moncada and the step on second base.”
The White Sox said decided that tagging up is for chumps and ran themselves into a triple play pic.twitter.com/q7P6u6o2AA
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) July 5, 2022
There have been just over 700 triple plays turned in Major League Baseball history, including 15 unassisted triple plays. But until Monday night, there had never been an 8-5 version.
Buxton, the graceful all-star outfielder started the play in the bottomof the seventh inning with a spectacular catch of a deep fly ball off the bat of A.J. Pollock. Chicago had Yoan Moncada on first base and Adam Engel on second, and both started running and failed to tag up, likely thinking Buxton would not make the catch.
Buxton, crashed into the wall, ball in his glove, then fired it in to Urshela. By then, Engel was past third with Moncada bearing down on him. Neither had a chance to get back to their bases. Urshela tagged Moncada as he was trying to run back to first, then stepped on second to force Engel out.
As impressive as Buxton’s catch and throw was, the play was made possible by the terrible baserunning of the White Sox players.
“I just made a bad read on it,” Engel said later. “Obviously was watching [Buxton]. He took his head off the ball to find the wall and when he looked toward the wall, I thought he was looking for the ball to get down and [I] made a bad play, made a mistake on it. And unfortunately cost us some runs right there most likely and probably would’ve gone on to win the game. It was tough. My mistake.”
White Sox Manager Tony La Russa, the second-winningest manager in MLB history and who has managed in more than 5,000 games, sat at the dugout railing with jaw dropped in disbelief.
“Never seen one like it,” LaRussa said after the game. “Potential difference maker at that point. Yoán was really aggressive, which is not the worst thing you can do when you play this game. Judgment was wrong and costly.”
LaRussa was ejected later in the game for arguing over balls and strikes.