A 1-3-6-2-5-6 triple play? Yes, it was a first

June 18th, 2021

It took more of a group effort than most when the Yankees pulled off a triple play in the first inning of Thursday's 8-4 win over the Blue Jays at Sahlen Field -- their second of the season already.

In one of the weirdest versions you'll ever see, the scorebook read a 1-3-6-2-5-6 triple play -- the first in baseball history, according to the SABR Triple Play Database. It was the first time in franchise history that the Yankees have turned two triple plays in the same season.

Let's break it down.

After allowing a leadoff walk to Marcus Semien and a Bo Bichette single, Yankees starter Michael King was up against American League MVP Award candidate Vladimir Guerrero Jr., one of the hottest hitters in baseball.

A wild pitch moved the runners to third and second while King threw three straight balls. Was he worried about what might happen next?

"I wanna say it's not scary," said King, who fired the seventh immaculate inning in Yankees history on June 4. "Obviously, it's Vlad, but I knew that if I executed pitches, I was fine. And I also knew that I had first base open, so it wasn't that I was pitching around him by any means, but I was just trying to minimize as much damage as possible. And I got the best possible outcome."

King battled to a 3-2 count, then watched as Guerrero fouled off the next two pitches. The eighth pitch of the at-bat was a 97.5 mph sinker near the inside corner. The Blue Jays slugger chopped it awkwardly and the ball came back to the mound softly.

King fielded it cleanly and tossed it to DJ LeMahieu at first base for the initial out.

"I thought he did a really good job of not being in a hurry," said Yankees manager Aaron Boone, "getting off the mound, slowing the game down a little bit but making a really good, solid play."

LeMahieu then threw it to shortstop Gleyber Torres in the middle of the infield, who quickly sent it to catcher Gary Sánchez, sensing Marcus Semien was in no-man's land between third and home plate. The backstop threw it to third baseman Gio Urshela, who tagged Semien out.

Urshela then spun around and quickly tossed it back to Torres, who tagged out a sliding Bo Bichette as he tried to advance from second amid the chaos.

The Blue Jays asked for a replay of the final out, but the call on the field stood.

King, who called the triple play "his Houdini act," admitted it came as a result of good fortune and "a little bit of poor baserunning by them." Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo was less generous in his response on what went wrong.

"Everything. I'm not going to sugarcoat it," Montoyo said. "We didn't do a good job on that. That's going to happen, and young kids are going to make mistakes. And that was one of those."

For Boone, it was the opposite situation, as his team worked together impressively to make the triple play possible. It wasn't lost on him that the sudden turn of events helped the game work out in the Yankees' favor.

"Everyone got involved and just played good catch to execute that," he said. "It was huge. Who knows where that inning goes if Vladimir gets on?"