The last time the Orioles turned a triple play, the president was Bill Clinton and the three Orioles involved in the play were Melvin Mora, Jerry Hairston, and Jeff Conine. The date was September 1, 2000, and here nearly seventeen years later, they broke that drought against Boston on Tuesday night.
The Orioles lost the game, so this fluke triple play is one of the few things that was good about the game. Even the fact that they could turn a triple play in the bottom of the eighth inning was concerning because it came against fresh-off-the-DL Zach Britton, who, when totally well, doesn’t even allow enough baserunners for a triple play to be a possibility.
Instead, lefty Mitch Moreland got a single off Britton, and Britton then walked Dustin Pedroia. This was all in a shake-off-the-rust inning for Britton, as the O’s were losing, 5-2. That brought Jackie Bradley Jr. to the plate, where this happened:
There’s a lot of confusion in this MLB Network broadcast, as there was also on the MASN broadcast, because at first it wasn’t clear what happened. Was there an infield fly called? No, there was not, although if you want you might be upset that J.J. Hardy duffed a relatively routine, catchable pop-up for the second time in two nights.
The sequence of events:
- Hardy allows the pop-up to fall into left field.
- The lead runner, Moreland, perhaps assuming an infield fly has been called, makes no attempt to advance.
- Hardy throws to Schoop at second base, who tags out Moreland in the vicinity of the base.
- Schoop steps on second base, which is actually the force out of the trail runner, Pedroia.
- Credit to the second base umpire for being on top of this the whole way; he signals both the out of the tag and the out of the force.
- Schoop throws to first base, where Pedroia has never left.
- The batter, Bradley, never actually ran to first base and is easily out when Chris Davis catches the ball at first.
So there’s your 6-4-3 triple play on a dropped pop fly ball. Was it in fact a triple TOOTBLAN that only resulted from Hardy’s concerning pop-up yips? Yes. But it was still awesome. And now 16-year-old Orioles fans have had a triple play in their lifetimes.