That’s right, in tonight’s game, there was the rare baseball feat of the triple play. And it was awesome. It may sound like a telephone number (4-6-5-6-5-3-4), but here’s what happened. CC Sabathia allows 2 back-to-back singles at the top of the 8th inning. The Orioles batter Machado hits a low grounder to Robinson Cano (4), who flips it to Jayson Nix (6) for the 1st out; Nix tossed it to Kevin Youkilis (5) to catch the advancing runner but turned it into a rundown, so Youkilis tossed it back to Nix (6) to catch him going back to 2nd, then Nix tosses it back to Youkilis (5) who tags the runner for the 2nd out; Machado sees an opportunity to make it to 2nd base but instead gets caught in his own rundown as Youkilis throws across the diamond to Lyle Overbay (3), Overbay on one side of the rundown tosses it to Cano (4) who is able to tag out Machado as he slides into 2nd base for the 3rd out. Here is the play to watch it yourself. (And if you aren’t familiar with the scorekeeping numbers I just mentioned, you can read my blog post about scorekeeping to catch up.)
It is also worth noting that the last time the Yankees successfully had a triple play at home was June 3, 1968 against Minnesota, but today’s 4-6-5-6-5-3-4 triple play was the 1st in recorded Major League history (since 1876). I know the sports shows will have this one to play on clip shows for ages to come, and now it will be permanently a part of Yankee lore.
Oh, and the Yankees won tonight over the Orioles. The first 2 runs scored on RBI singles by Youkilis and Cano (the 3rd and 5th innings, respectively). Then in the 7th inning, the bases are loaded when Vernon Wells hits a long hit out to center field, but Baltimore’s Adam Jones had a hard time catching the ball in the cold night and couldn’t hang onto it, earning a fielding error. Oh, and that allowed all three base runners to score making the tied score up to what would become its final 5-2.
Injury report: Eduardo Nunez was hit by another nasty pitch today. This time, the ball landed directly on his right wrist. He seemed to want to stay in the game, but upon testing it for fielding, realized he needed to come out. X-rays are negative, but it looks like he may miss a few games with a bruised wrist. Nunez needs to get this target off his back so we can have him actually play baseball. But still, get well soon!
Yankees starter CC Sabathia went 8 innings tonight, allowing 2 runs off 8 hits, striking out 9 batters, and getting charged with a controversial balk. (After reviewing the call, I don’t think I agree with the umpire’s decision on this, but what’s done is done at this point.) But still a solid 8 innings, which allowed our own #42 Mariano Rivera to come into the 9th inning to save the game in 15 pitches.
And speaking of #42, I have a confession: I have now seen the Jackie Robinson biopic 42 twice in the last 24 hours. And it is so worth it. It has passed most baseball-related movies in my book by leaps and bounds; it’s better than The Natural, *61, Field of Dreams, and A League of their Own (my #5, 4, 3, & 2 respectively now on my favorite baseball movies). I have started making a personal list of the numbers associated with Yankee legends and players who would never have been in pinstripes had it not been for Robinson’s courage and Dodger’s owner Branch Rickey’s determination. And not just the African-American players, but the Asians, Hispanics, Native American, and bi-racial players we cheer on with gusto and laud with such fervency owe their very career opportunities to the likes of Robinson and Rickey and others who were not afraid to do something different because it was the right thing to do.
“You made me love baseball again,” Rickey says to Robinson at one point in the movie because integrating baseball was more than a political move or stance against some horrible racism. It was the right thing to do because Robinson was a ridiculously talent ballplayer. And today, we are privileged to have the opportunity to cheer on ball players of all heritages (and often languages) regardless of what they look like, but because they fit the 3 qualities of a great ball player — ability, teamwork, and character. Robinson fit the bill, and our own #42 (the last man to ever wear #42 professionally) Mariano Rivera fits that bill. And that makes me so proud to be a baseball fan and a New York fan.