Sports | July 5, 2022 2:06 pm

Watch the Twins Turn the First 8-5 Triple Play in MLB History

Byron Buxton got the play started in the seventh inning of the Twins’ 6-3 win over the White Sox

Byron Buxton of the Twins celebrates with Gilberto Celestino and Max Kepler.
Byron Buxton was the catalyst for a historic MLB play on July 4th.
Quinn Harris/Getty

On a Fourth of July weekend that saw the Cardinals become the first team in the history of Major League Baseball to hit four straight HRs in the first inning and pitchers on the Astros combine for a record-tying 20 strikeouts against the Angels, the Twins also did something significant in MLB history.

In the seventh inning of an eventual 6-3 win for Minnesota over the White Sox in 10 innings at Guaranteed Rate Field, outfielder Byron Buxton tracked down a deep fly ball off the bat of A.J. Pollock at the right-center field wall and gunned it back into the infield to third baseman Gio Urshela. Chicago baserunners Adam Engel and Yoán Moncada were apparently convinced Buxton was going to be unable to catch the ball and were forced to attempt to head back to their respective bases. It didn’t work as Urshela was able to tag out Moncada and step on second to erase Engel. Urshela then threw the ball, unnecessarily, to Alex Kirilloff standing on first base.

According to the SABR database, which has tracked every triple play in MLB dating back to 1876, the 8-5 triple killing was the first one on record in American or National League history.

“I don’t know how much more stuff can be a first in MLB history, so at least it was something left for us in the middle age to kind of grab, I guess,” Buxton said afterward. “It’s cool. Ain’t too much thought into it other than the triple play got us out of the inning and it kind of got us a little momentum going.”

It’s a good thing Buxton and Urshela were paying attention to the play as Twins manager Rocco Baldelli admitted afterward that he had “no idea” what was going on.

“When the ball was hit, I was watching the ball. When Buck caught it, I got excited, but thought, we got [one] out. But we got a little more than that,” he said. “When things get really weird on the bases, sometimes people aren’t sure what to do. But being able to just get the ball and start tagging people and tagging bases and staying composed — finishing the play matters too. Game-changing type of situation for us. We just caught the ball and, again, just started tagging people and bases. That’s all you can do.”

If you have a player like Buxton, that is.