Tribe's Cabrera turns 14th unassisted triple play in MLB history

Updated: May 13, 2008, 1:07 AM ET
Associated Press

CLEVELAND -- Indians second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera turned the 14th unassisted triple play in major league history, accomplishing the feat Monday night in the second game of a doubleheader against Toronto.

Cabrera made a diving catch on a line drive by Lyle Overbay, touched second base and then tagged out Marco Scutaro to quickly end the fifth inning of Cleveland's 3-0 loss in 10 innings.

"I was trying to speed up the game," Overbay joked. "I get to go down in history. They can't take that away from me.

"It's not smart to hit a line drive on a hit-and-run. Only bad things can happen."

The only miscue by the 22-year-old Cabrera was that he didn't keep the ball.

"He flipped it into the stands and right as he did cried out, 'Oh, no!'" first-base coach Luis Rivera said, serving as the Venezuelan's interpreter.

"I knew it was pretty special," Cabrera said.

[+] EnlargeAsdrubal Cabrera
AP Photo/Amy SancettaIndians 2B Asdrubal Cabrera tags out the Blue Jays' Marco Scutaro to complete an unassisted triple play.

Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki made the last unassisted triple play in the majors, on April 29, 2007, against Atlanta. Oakland second baseman Randy Velarde last turned the trick in the AL, on May 29, 2000, against the Yankees.

This was the record third unassisted triple play by a Cleveland fielder.

Indians shortstop Neal Ball made the first one in history, in 1909. Cleveland second baseman Bill Wambsganss turned the only one in the World Series, in 1920 during a Game 5 win over Brooklyn.

The Indians also have been victimized three such times. The last player to pull an unassisted triple play against them -- Ron Hansen, in 1968 for Washington -- is now an advance scout for Philadelphia and was at Progressive Field to see Cabrera's feat.

"First one I've ever seen from the stands," Hansen said. "That kid is a real good fielder and has a great future.

"On a play like that, it's just reaction and he reacted right."

Hansen said he sent both the ball he caught and his glove to the Baseball Hall of Fame and cherishes the moment forever.

"I get asked about it all the time," Hansen said. "They didn't have one for 41 years before me and then another 22 after I did it. It's that rare."

Undefeated Cliff Lee, who came in 6-0 with an 0.81 ERA, gave up consecutive singles to Kevin Mench and Scutaro to open the Blue Jays fifth.

The runners took off on a 1-0 pitch and Overbay hit a line drive up the middle. Cabrera moved to his right, grabbed the ball with a backhanded dive and held up his glove to show the umpire he'd made the catch. At that point, the runners had no chance.

Cabrera took a couple of steps to touch second to get Mench, who was already standing at third base.

Cabrera then reached out to tag Scutaro, who had run past the bag. History made, Cabrera broke into a smile as he ran off the field with the game still scoreless.

"As soon as I saw the runners take off and it was line drive, I knew I had a chance at a triple play," Cabrera said.

In the first game of the doubleheader, Cabrera turned two nifty double plays as the Indians shortstop in a 3-0 win.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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