The triple play is one of the rarer plays in baseball. When the St. Louis Cardinals executed one on Friday night, it was only the 15th in at least the last 70 years for the club.
The Cards were down 2-1 over Toronto in the bottom of the sixth Friday night. The bases were loaded with Jays against pitcher Seth Maness with no out. The Jays could have blown the game wide open, but St. Louis escaped. Joey Bautista’s line drive to Daniel Descalso enabled him to flip the ball to shortstop Jhonny Peralta covering second, who relayed the throw to Allen Craig to complete the trifecta.
It was St. Louis’ first triple play in over nine years.
In a generic sense, the triple play comes with mixed emotions. Obviously, a team is dealing with a no-out situation with at least two opposing runners already on base. Game momentum is probably not positive at that point. Though the three-out play could change that, it hasn’t seemed to happen much at all.
As the data below indicates, at least it does not hurt. The Cardinals were ahead in just six of the 15 triple play contests at the time of the key play, but they ended up winning all of those games.
Of the nine games in which they were tied or behind, including Friday, they came back to win just once for a 1-8 record in those contests. In the one victory, it was just overcoming a 0-1 deficit in the third inning. That makes the Cards’ overall mark 7-8 in triple play games.
Here is Tom Orf’s research – the details behind the Cardinals’ 15 triple plays in the last 70 years.
|6 06 14||L||Descalso, Peralta, Craig||Seth Maness||TOR||Joey Bautista||down 2-1||b6||123||Line Drive Triple Play: 2B; Reyes out at 2B/2B-SS; Cabrera out at 1B/SS-1B|
|5 05 05||L||Pujols, Eckstein||Matt Morris||SDP||Ramon Hernandez||tied 0-0||t2||-12||Line Drive Triple Play: 1B; Giles out at 1B/1B; Nevin out at 2B/1B-SS|
|8 01 02||L||Drew, Renteria, Martinez||Chuck Finley||@FLA||Eric Owens||down 0-3||b6||-12||Line Drive Triple Play: RF-SS-1B|
|5 11 93||W||G.Pena, O.Smith, Jeffries, O.Smith||Donovan Osborne||NYM||Todd Hundley||ahead 4-0||t2||-12||Triple Play: Groundout: 2B-SS-1B-SS|
|9 05 91||L||Zeile, G.Pena, Guerrero||Bryn Smith||@SDP||Jerald Clark||tied 0-0||b2||-12||Ground Ball Triple Play: 3B-2B-1B (Weak 3B)|
|8 16 88||W||Pendleton, Oquendo, Laga||Ken Dayley||HOU||Jim Pankovits||ahead 3-0||t8||-12||Ground Ball Triple Play: 3B-2B-1B|
|9 27 83||L||Doyle O.Smith, Aducci, Doyle, Oberkfell||Steve Baker||MON||Andre Dawson||down 3-7||t4||123||Triple Play: Groundout: 2B-SS-1B; Francona out at 3B/1B-2B-3B; Lea stays at 3B|
|4 11 81||L||Hernandez, Templeton, Hernandez||Jim Otten||PHI||Gary Matthews||down 2-5||t8||123||Triple Play: Groundout: SS-C-1B-2B|
|5 08 77||W||Tyson, Kessinger, Hernandez||John D’Acquisto||HOU||Willie Crawford||down 0-1||t3||-12||Line Drive Triple Play: 2B-SS-1B|
|9 25 56||1||W||Musial, Schofield, Blasingame, McDaniel, Boyer||Lindy McDaniel||@CHC||Solly Drake||ahead 2-1||b5||123||Line Drive Triple Play: 1B; Landrith out at 2B/1B-SS; Baker out at Hm/SS-2B-P-3B|
|5 30 56||1||L||Moon, Blasingame||Murry Dickson||CIN||Ray Jablonski||down 2-3||t6||123||Line Drive Triple Play: 1B-SS|
|8 27 49||1||W||Schoendienst, N.Jones||Fred Martin||@NYG||Bobby Thomson||ahead 2-1||b3||-12||Triple Play: Lineout: SS-1B|
|6 14 49||L||Marion, Schoendienst, N.Jones||Howie Pollet||BRO||Gil Hodges||down 0-2||t1||-12||Line Drive Triple Play: SS-2B-1B|
|8 23 47||W||D.Rice, Marion, Musial||Al Brazle||@PHI||Charlie Gilbert||ahead 5-3||b8||-12||Triple Play: Bunt Popfly: C-SS-1B|
|7 01 44||W||Jurisch, Verban, Sanders||Al Jurisich||BRO||Frenchy Bordagaray||ahead 2-0||t3||-12||Triple Play: Flyball: P-2B-1B|