Tuesday, August 23, 2011

This Day in Baseball: Eric Bruntlett's 2009 Triple Play

Click on the clip to watch Bruntlett's play.

On August 23, 2009 Phillies second baseman Eric Bruntlett turned an unassisted triple play in the ninth inning against the Mets for a 9-7 Philadelphia victory.  Bruntlett almost ruined the game for Phillies closer Brad Lidge, as he made an error and allowed a second batter to reach on an infield hit.  With the runners in motion, Bruntlett was ranging towards second base, where he caught Jeff Francoeur's line drive for out number one, stepped on second base to double up Luis Castillo, and then tagged out Daniel Murphy coming from first base.

Bruntlett's triple play was only the fifteenth of its kind in MLB history, only the seventh turned in NL history, and only the second game-ending triple play ever.  The first game-ending triple play was turned by Detroit Tigers first baseman Johnny Neun on May 31, 1927.  He caught a liner for the first out, tagged the runner off first, and managed to tag second base before the base runner got back to end the game.  A triple play itself is amazing, an unassisted triple play is absolutely nuts, and a game-ending, unassisted triple play is downright one of the coolest plays a fan good ever witness.  Bruntlett ends a New York rally at Citi Field and still manages to make the fans cheer.  Obviously, he had to be in the right place at the right time, but this is still a great play to look back on.

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