Rangers pull off triple play vs. Tigers
DETROIT — The Texas Rangers thrwarted a Tigers rally and made some history in the process Wednesday night, when second baseman Ian Kinsler and shortstop Elvis Andrus teamed up for a triple play against the Tigers at Comerica Park.
Brandon Inge’s double and a four-pitch walk to Ryan Raburn put the runners on for Detroit, which had a chance to break open its early 1-0 lead against Texas starter Matt Harrison. Up came former Rangers catcher Gerald Laird, who just broke out of a hitting slump over the weekend.
After Laird fouled off a bunt attempt on the first pitch, manager Jim Leyland sent the runners in motion, setting up the extra outs when Laird lined out sharply to Kinsler. He flipped the ball to Andrus to tag second base for the second out on Inge. Once Andrus crossed the bag, he had a mere few steps to go to tag Raburn for the third out.
Raburn was close enough to second base, in hindsight, that Kinsler arguably had a chance to pull off an unassisted triple play.
With that, the Rangers had pulled off the fifth triple play in franchise history, and their first since April 14, 2002, when former Ranger and future Tiger Kenny Rogers induced a fielder’s choice grounder from Seattle’s Ron Wright. That play featured two run-downs on the basepaths for the final two outs.
The last conventional triple play the Rangers pulled off took place August 6, 2001 at Boston. Scott Hatteberg’s line out to Alex Rodriguez with runners on first and second allowed A-Rod to flip to second baseman Randy Velarde to tag second for one and then tag Chris Stynes for the third.
The Tigers, meanwhile, hadn’t hit into a triple play since Sept. 18, 2006, when Carlos Guillen hit into one against the White Sox at Chicago.
Wednesday’s triple play came in especially timely once Taylor Teagarden drove in Marlon Byrd in the next inning to tie the game in the fifth inning against Tigers ace Justin Verlander.