How bad baserunning by the White Sox turned a flyout into a historic Twins triple play


The White Sox looked like they were headed for a big seventh inning on Monday against the Twins. Instead, they hit into a highly improbable triple play.

Chicago started the inning well. Its first three batters reached base and an RBI single by Yoan Moncada tied the game 2-2. However, things went south with the next batter, A.J. Pollock.

Pollock hit a deep fly ball to right-center field. It came up short of the wall, and Twins center fielder Byron Buxton glided over to make the catch. The play wasn’t a routine one, but Buxton had enough time to get under the ball for the first out of the inning.

MORE: Yankees tie MLB record with 2021 triple play vs. A’s

The White Sox evidently didn’t believe that Buxton would be able to get to the ball. Their baserunners — Moncada (on first) and Adam Engel (on second) — had taken off anticipating that the drive would fall in for an extra-base hit.

As a result, Twins third baseman Gio Urshela was able to tag Moncada between second and third after fielding Buxton’s throw back into the infield. Then, he stepped on the second-base bag to retire Engel and complete the triple play.

What went wrong for the White Sox baserunners? It appears that Moncada got a bad read. He never hesitated while running from first to second, and that caused Engel to take off after he initially held up to tag and advance.

Chicago lost the game 6-3 in 10 innings.

The triple play was the 730th in MLB history, per Baseball Alamanac, but it was a historic one. It marked the first time that a center fielder and third baseman had combined to record all three outs on a triple play in that order, per the SABR database.

The triple play was the 16th in Twins franchise history and their fourth since 2019. But it was just their second involving two players. The first one also came against the White Sox, on July 25, 1976 (Glenn Borgmann, Luis Gomez).

Two other MLB teams have turned triple plays during the 2022 season. The Rangers did it against the Mariners on April 20 and the Nationals did it against the Brewers on May 20.

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