PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies found an impressive way to escape a first-inning jam created when a routine fly ball fell between two outfielders and a bunt turned into an infield hit. They simply turned a triple play. Inning over.
With runners on first and second, Matt Holliday smoked a low line drive that Greg Dobbs snared for the first out, then doubled off Cory Sullivan for the second out, when Chase Utley corralled his high throw. Utley completed the triple play by tagging Troy Tulowitzki, who was running from first. Score it 5-4, with Utley recording two of the putouts. The 30th triple play in team history, and second this season, was initially a bit confusing. Because Dobbs' throw pulled Utley off the base, second-base umpire Wally Bell didn't signal for the out, meaning Sullivan was still alive. Utley tagged Tulowitzki, then threw back to Dobbs, who snagged Sullivan. That part turned out to be unnecessary, since Bell did signal Sullivan out at second. "Matt hits the ball so hard," Sullivan said. "That very easily off anybody else could've been two bounces, but the third-base umpire immediately called an out and I just stopped. I think they ended up turning five." "It was pretty neat," Dobbs said. "I caught it just before it hit the ground. My other hand was muddy, so when I threw it to Chase, it slipped. He caught it and went off the bag and I didn't see what the umpire did. I thought Sullivan was out, so I thought all [Chase] had to do was throw to first and get the triple play. It was confusing. It was funky, but I'll take it. It's a pretty cool play." Abraham Nunez, Utley and Wes Helms turned a more conventional 5-4-3 triple play on April 21 at Cincinnati. The play allowed the Phillies to escape what could've been a troubling opening inning. Sullivan hit Kyle Kendrick's first pitch to left center, and a miscommunication between Aaron Rowand and Pat Burrell allowed the ball to drop for a single. Tulowitzki bunted the next pitch down the third-base line and beat it out for another single. Two pitches later, the Phillies were out of the inning. Tulowitzki also knows something about triple plays, having turned an unassisted one on April 29 against Atlanta to end the seventh inning of a 9-7 win. That was the third in Colorado's history. "I hit it hard, too," Holliday said. "It was unfortunate. I would have liked to have had that be a hit, too, but it doesn't always work out."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.