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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Rookie Turns Three

The Rockies finished up their short three game homestand against the Braves today. I was scoring for and in the top of 7th I saw something I and not many others had personally witnessed before. After Kelly Johnson singled to center to open the inning and Edgar Renteria grounded a single to left against Zach McClellan the count had run to three and two against Chipper Jones. The runners were moving on the pitch and Jones hit a line drive to Troy Tulowitzki at shortstop. He caught the ball as he was moving towards second and then attempted to step on second before tagging Renteria coming down from first. Triple play. I say attempted since it appeared he missed the bag the first time and then went back to touch it after tagging Renteria. The play was scored 6/LTP.2X2(6);1X1(6) in Retrosheet lingo. Either way it was just the 12th unassisted triple play in Major League history during the regular season and the first since Rafael Furcal turned the trick on August 10th 2003 against the Cardinals. Since 1968 it's only the fifth.

Interestingly, there were two of them turned in 1923 one by the Red Sox on September 14th and the other by the (Boston) Braves on October 6th. There were also two turned in 1927 on consecutive days by the Cubs Jim Cooney on May 30th and the Tigers Johnny Neun on May 31st. There was one unassisted triple play in the post season belonging to Bill Wambsganss in the 1920 World Series for the Indians. This is also the 8th instance of a shortstop turning one. There were three by second baseman and two by first baseman.

The game was notable for a couple other reasons as well as Todd Helton set the Rockies single game record for walks with five. He singled in the first and then walked in the 2nd, 5th, 7th, 9th, and 11th. That last walk came right before Matt Holliday ended it on a walk-off two-run homer to center field against Steve Coyler. Up until that point Holliday had had a rough day going one for five with only an infield single in the 9th inning rally where the Rockies tied the game at 7 against Braves closer Bob Wickman. Prior to that Holliday had struck out and grounded into two double plays in addition to flying out to right. For Helton that gives him 32 hits and 24 walks on the season good for a .523 on base percentage. He still just has the one homerun and so you begin to wonder whether the power is permanately gone or not. Holliday now has 41 hits and continues to lead the league in hitting at .394 and extended his hitting streak to 12 games. Brad Hawpe also homered in the game (his first of the year) accounting for the Rox sixth and seventh homeruns of the season here at Coors and their first multi-homerun game all season. Their home record stands at 6-7 as they head out on the road to face the Giants. In another quirk of the current schedule, as the Rockies make their 9 day road trip they'll land in all four time zones.

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