Baseball is a crazy game. The totally unexpected happened from an unlikely source during the Phillies 9-7 win over the New York Mets. Eric Bruntlett had quite the eventful day, including a game ending unassisted triple play.
Before Pedro Martinez could take the mound, the Phillies threw up a six spot. Jayson Werth and Carlos Ruiz each hit three run home runs in the first inning against Oliver Perez.
Bad Ollie showed up. After allowing six earned runs on four hits and two walks in 2/3 of an inning, Jerry Manuel had enough. He pulled Perez in the middle of an at-bat, after falling behind 3-0 to Martinez.
Pedro wasn’t completely dominant either– at least to start. Angel Pagan led off with an inside the park home run. Unsure about Citi Field’s ground rules, Shane Victorino raised his hand after the ball wedged under the padding. The umpires did not make a call, and Pagan rounded the bases. Raul Ibanez picked up the ball and threw it in, but it was too late. Even though it was beneath the padding, the ball was in play, according to the official rules. The Mets added another run on Jeff Francouer’s RBI triple.
The Phillies tacked on runs with Martinez’s RBI single, Jimmy Rollins’ sacrifice fly, and a run scored by Matt Stairs on a couple wild pitches. But, the Mets kept adding on runs as well. Pagan homered again (this time over the fence), Daniel Murphy hit a RBI single and Anderson Hernandez’s double kept it a close game, 9-6.
Pedro allowed four earned runs in six innings. He allowed seven hits, walked one, and struck out five of his former teammates. Pedro settled down after a rough first few innings; he retired the last six batters he faced.
With Chase Utley getting a regular day off, Eric Bruntlett got the start at second base. Not much is expected from Bruntlett, who entered today with a .128 average. He started off by going 3-for-3 and made some solid defensive plays.
In the top of the ninth, Bruntlett was robbed of his fourth hit. Jeff Francouer made a diving catch, but the umpire originally called it a trap. Heads up, Bruntlett hustled his way to third for a triple, but the play was overruled by third base umpire. It would have been a new career high for Bruntlett for most hits in a game.
Coming off a 1-2-3 save last night, Brad Lidge looked to make it back-to-back. Pagan grounded a single through the legs of Ryan Howard. On the error, Pagan advanced to third. Then, Bruntlett committed an error which scored Pagan. Next, Murphy grounded a single up the middle, booted by Bruntlett. Both of Bruntlett’s miscues were plays that Utley would’ve made easily. The Mets were down two with two men on base and nobody out. With Lidge’s struggles, the Mets were on their way to winning this thing.
On the 2-2 pitch, Castillo and Murphy were off. Covering second, Francouer lined a drive right at Bruntlett. Bruntlett stepped on second base for out number two. With Murphy on his way to second, Bruntlett applied the tag for the third out. An unbelievable, game-ending, unassisted triple play!
The last Phillie to turn an unassisted triple play was Mickey Morandini in 1992. Bruntlett’s was the first in National League history that ended the game. The last game ending unassisted triple play was turned by Johnny Neun in 1927.
The Mets keep finding new ways to lose and today was no different. Eric Bruntlett went from hated, to hero, back to hated and hero again. Who knows, maybe he can do something shocking again tomorrow. After all, Charlie Manuel has already stated he’ll play tomorrow giving Jimmy Rollins a break.