The Jays turned their first triple play since Sept. 21, 1979 -- the fourth triple killing in franchise history -- in the bottom of the third inning of Friday night's 4-3 win at Kauffman Stadium.
Royals outfielder Alex Gordon led off the inning with a double to right field and shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt followed with a walk. First baseman Eric Hosmer came to the plate with two on and no one out.
Hosmer hit a line drive that was caught by first baseman Adam Lind, who ran a few steps to touch the bag and double off Betancourt. He then threw the ball to second base, where Yunel Escobar caught it and tripled off Gordon.
Boom. Just like that. Triple play.
"As soon as I caught it, I knew it was there," Lind said after the game. "Touch first and throw it to second. Both baserunners were way off the bag. There really wasn't much to think about, it was so fast, and it was over."
While the Jays were smiling, the Royals were left talking about a bad break.
"That's a tough read, because it's caught right at ground level," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "You try to freeze on anything on the line and make sure you don't get doubled up, especially with nobody out. [Gordon] just took one step too far and ended up paying for it."
"He came with a fastball right there," Hosmer said. "I saw it good and put a good swing on it and, obviously, the result wasn't what I was hoping."
Numerous Blue Jays, including manager John Farrell, said it was the first triple play they'd ever been a part of.
"First one I've ever seen in person," Farrell said. "You don't try to make a pitch to get a triple play. But fortunately Hosmer squares a ball up and it looks like a sinking line drive, so you see where their runners would get extended secondary leads. We caught a break there."
The triple play ended an inning that had not started off well for pitcher Kyle Drabek. Drabek had walked three batters up to that point and had surrendered the game's first run in the second inning when he gave up a solo home run to Kansas City third baseman Mike Moustakas. With two runners on and nobody out, the triple play usurped the title of the pitcher's best friend.
"That was the first one I've ever seen in my whole baseball career," Drabek said. "It was real fun for me to see, especially having those two guys on."
In addition to being the first triple play turned by the Blue Jays since 1979, it was the first time Kansas City had hit into a triple play since June 6, 1979.
The teams must have been feeling nostalgic.
In 1979, the Blue Jays turned their most recent triple play against the New York Yankees at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto. Yankees Chris Chambliss and Roy Staiger had each singled off pitcher Tom Underwood and stood at first and second base. Damaso Garcia lined a pitch to Jays second baseman Dave McKay, who caught it and threw to first baseman Craig Kusick to double off Staiger. Kusick threw to shortstop Alfredo Griffin and tripled off Chambliss at second.
The Royals, three months earlier at the Oakland Coliseum, hit into a triple play when Al Cowens grounded to Athletics third baseman Wayne Gross. Gross stepped on third and threw to second baseman Mike Edwards and Edwards relayed to first baseman Dave Revering to complete the trifecta.
After the game, Lind said he hoped it wouldn't be another 32-year wait for the next Blue Jays triple play.
It's the second triple play of the 2012 season in Major League Baseball. The Dodgers turned the first on April 15 against San Diego.
Farrell called it a rarity, and for the Jays, that's an accurate assessment. Not just for the franchise, but for the players themselves.
"You think back to all the games you've ever played, and that's it," Lind said. "Pretty cool to happen in the big leagues."
Vinnie Duber is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less