Cards turn their first triple play in nine years
Descalso, Peralta, Craig combine to end Blue Jays' threat in sixth inning
TORONTO -- It was just on Thursday that, midway through the Cardinals' game in Kansas City, reliever Seth Maness started to survey his bullpen mates. He was curious whether any of them had ever been on the field for a triple play.
"I have never seen one," Maness told the group. "Just on TV."
A day later, Maness would be the benefactor of his first.
The Cardinals bailed Maness out of a bases-loaded mess in the sixth inning on Friday by turning the club's first triple play in nine years.
"That could have turned into an extremely ugly inning," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said afterward. "The triple play doesn't hurt things."
Maness, on in relief of starter Lance Lynn, allowed his first three batters to reach on two singles and an error by Matt Carpenter. Toronto, leading by 2-1 at the time, had three-hole hitter Jose Bautista at the plate as the Blue Jays eyed a chance to pad that lead.
Instead Bautista, who had earlier homered off Lynn, lined out to second baseman Daniel Descalso, who then threw to shortstop Jhonny Peralta to get Jose Reyes straying off second. Peralta finished the rare defensive feat with a throw to first baseman Allen Craig in plenty of time to retire Melky Cabrera, who also could not retreat in time.
"In that situation, we know Seth is a ground ball pitcher, and we're hoping we can get a double play and limit the damage," said Descalso, who could not remember being involved in a triple play before. "A triple play is the best-case scenario. He happened to hit it right at me, and it got us out of a jam and kept us in the game."
The triple play was the organization's first since May 5, 2005, when first baseman Albert Pujols and shortstop David Eckstein combined to turn one against the Padres. This marked the seventh time in Blue Jays history -- and first since 2008 -- that a triple play was turned against them.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.