KANSAS CITY — Sometimes, small ball leads to big plays — just not in the way you’d expect.
With runners on first and second in the third inning, Royals shortstop Nicky Lopez squared around to bunt and hit it in the air — into the waiting glove of first baseman Miguel Sanó, who was charging toward the plate. With both runners moving on the play, it was rather simple business for the Twins to complete the 15th triple play in club history and escape the jam in Sunday’s series finale at Kauffman Stadium.
Once Sanó snatched the line drive out of the air, he flipped to shortstop Andrelton Simmons at second base to double off Jarrod Dyson. Simmons ran toward first for several steps before he threw to second baseman Nick Gordon on the first-base bag to triple off Cam Gallagher.
It marked the first 3-6-4 triple play ever turned by the Twins, and the first in Major League Baseball since the Mariners made such a play on May 31, 1980. The last time the Royals hit into a triple play of any kind was on April 20, 2012.
The Twins’ previous triple play was on Aug. 7, 2019, as part of a three-week stretch in which they turned two triple plays. That one came against Atlanta, with Tyler Flowers hitting into a 5-4-3 triple play, not long after Minnesota turned an identical triple play against the Yankees on July 22, 2019.
In fact, it was the fourth triple play turned in the last five years by the Twins — and Sanó was involved in all of them. He was the third baseman for two of them, starting with another against the Angels on June 1, 2017, and the first baseman for the other two.
Minnesota’s four triple plays in that span are twice as many as any other team in that period (the Reds and Orioles have two apiece).