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Alert Ramirez sparks Indians' rare triple play

MLB.com @MLBastian

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Jose Ramirez looked to be the only person inside Goodyear Ballpark who immediately realized what he had pulled off Sunday afternoon. The crowd was buzzing as they discussed the play that unfolded in front of them and it took a few moments before the umpires let Cleveland's fielders return to the dugout.

In the sixth inning of a 5-4 loss to the Brewers, Ramirez swiftly recorded a pair of outs to ignite a unique triple play with the bases loaded, providing the highlight of Cleveland's split-squad games against Milwaukee and Kansas City. The three outs were recorded so fast that manager Terry Francona quipped the Indians could have notched four on the play.

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GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Jose Ramirez looked to be the only person inside Goodyear Ballpark who immediately realized what he had pulled off Sunday afternoon. The crowd was buzzing as they discussed the play that unfolded in front of them and it took a few moments before the umpires let Cleveland's fielders return to the dugout.

In the sixth inning of a 5-4 loss to the Brewers, Ramirez swiftly recorded a pair of outs to ignite a unique triple play with the bases loaded, providing the highlight of Cleveland's split-squad games against Milwaukee and Kansas City. The three outs were recorded so fast that manager Terry Francona quipped the Indians could have notched four on the play.

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Spring Training information

"There were outs everywhere," Francona said.

Brewers manager Craig Counsell agreed.

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"They could have gotten four outs on that play, very easily could have gotten four outs," Counsell said. "It's a crazy thing. You come to the field and see something [like that]. I think everyone in our dugout said they'd never seen anything like that."

The play began with Jonathan Villar on first, Christian Yelich on second and Stephen Vogt on third base for the Brewers against Indians righty Matt Belisle. Travis Shaw then sent a soft looping liner up the third-base line, where Vogt was caught in between. If he bolted home and Ramirez snared the ball for an out, Vogt could have been doubled up at third. Instead of making the catch, Ramirez gloved the ball on a short hop, introducing a bit of chaos.

Ramirez quickly ran a few steps and tagged Vogt out before then stepping on third to force out Yelich. The Indians third baseman then fired the ball to Jason Kipnis at second to force Villar out. That triple play goes in the books as 5-5-4, which is extremely rare.

"I actually thought Josey did a good job," Francona said. "He tagged the right guy. I think he had a better awareness than the umpires did, but he did a good job on that play."

According to the triple-play database compiled by the Society for American Baseball Research, the last 5-5-4 version in the regular season occurred on Aug. 17, 1950. St. Louis Browns third baseman Owen Friend turned the trick against the Indians in that game with the help of second baseman Snuffy Stirnweiss.

"It was a play like I've never seen before," Vogt said. "Kudos to [Ramirez]. He made a really good play. I tried to avoid the tag. It was one of those perfect little spin shots right by the bag. No man's land. None of us knew what the heck to do. I kind of polled people in the dugout -- people that have been in this game for 50, 60 years. Nobody had ever seen anything like it before."

Shaw maintained his sense of humor after hitting into three outs with one swing.

"If that happens during the regular season," Shaw said, "I'd throw my bat out of the ballpark."

Injury updates

• Francona noted that left fielder Michael Brantley (right ankle surgery in October) was scheduled to go through a baserunning workout Sunday, along with taking fly balls off the bat in outfield drills. The timetable for Brantley's Cactus League debut remains unclear.

• Right-hander Julian Merryweather (No. 16 on the Indians' Top 30 Prospects list per MLB Pipeline) was back at the Tribe's complex Sunday. Merryweather underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow Friday. Dr. Keith Meister performed the operation in Dallas.

Camp battles

• In a split-squad 3-1 win over the Royals, left-hander Ryan Merritt got the start for Cleveland and turned in a solid effort. Merritt spun two shutout innings, in which he struck out two, allowed one hit and did not issue a walk. Merritt is out of Minor League options and trying to win a spot on the Tribe's pitching staff.

Video: CLE@KC: Merritt fans Jay in the 1st inning

• Veteran reliever Matt Belisle, who is trying to capture a job in the Indians' bullpen, pitched two innings in Cleveland's other split-squad game against the Brewers. Belisle was charged with two runs on six hits. Belisle, Merritt, Carlos Torres and Evan Marshall are among the arms vying for a relief role for Cleveland.

• Utility candidate Giovanny Urshela kept his hot spring going with a 2-for-3 showing against the Royals. Urshela, whose main competition is Erik Gonzalez, is now batting .542 (13-for-24) in Cactus League play.

Worth noting

• Relief ace Andrew Miller took the mound in Sunday's game against the Brewers, marking the lefty's first Cactus League appearance since Monday. Miller logged one shutout inning with two strikeouts. Closer Cody Allen also worked one shutout inning with two walks and one strikeout.

• Right-hander Carlos Carrasco continued his march toward the regular season with three strong innings against the Brewers. Carrasco allowed no runs and one hit and ended with six strikeouts and no walks. The starter struck out five of the first six batters he faced. Carrasco has 12 strikeouts and one walk in six innings this spring.

Up next

Indians starter Trevor Bauer is scheduled to take the mound against the Rangers in a 4:05 p.m. ET Cactus League clash Monday at Goodyear Ballpark. Relievers Nick Goody, Stephen Fife, Jeff Beliveau, Neil Ramirez, Ben Taylor and Alexi Ogando are also penciled in to pitch for Cleveland. Righty Clayton Blackburn will start for Texas.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

Cleveland Indians, Jose Ramirez