The Atlanta Braves etched their name into Major League Baseball history on Tuesday night, executing the second 8-3-5 triple play in history, the first since 1884.
In a momentous play, center fielder Michael Harris of the Braves intercepted a shallow fly from Boston Red Sox’s Triston Casas, followed by a successful throw to the first base that caught out Adam Duvall, who had over-anticipated and moved too far towards the second base.
Braves’ first baseman Matt Olson then swiftly threw the ball diagonally across the field, catching Masataka Yoshida off guard at third base. He had tried to seize an advantage from Duvall’s misjudgment, but was met with a brilliantly coordinated response. The exhilarating triple play was capped off when Austin Riley tagged out Yoshida, who was still several strides away from the safety of his base when Olson’s throw reached Riley.
Despite his miscalculation that led to the unique triple play, Duvall showed good sportsmanship, even making light of his running mistake. This may have been easier given that his team, the Red Sox, still triumphed over the Braves with a 7-1 score.
Reflecting on the incident, Duvall said, “I read the situation wrong. I was trying to get to the second base if the ball dropped, but I advanced too early, and Harris made a great throw. It’s a risk-reward situation, and unfortunately, it didn’t pay off for me tonight.”
Interestingly, the last time an 8-3-5 triple play happened in the majors, it also involved a Boston team. The Beaneaters executed one against the Providence Grays in 1884.
In baseball, triple plays are a rarity. The specific conditions that make them possible, such as two runners on base with no outs, do not often align. On average, there are only five triple plays throughout an MLB season. The most recent triple play by the Braves prior to this was way back in 2004.