NEW YORK — Sunday afternoon, the New York Yankees and first-place Oakland Athletics wrapped up their three-game series at Yankee Stadium. Gary Sánchez continued his hot streak with a go-ahead two-run double to give the Yankees the series victory (NYY 2, OAK 1). New York has won five of its last six games.
The win did not come easy. Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman walked the first two batters in the ninth inning on nine pitches, and was having trouble with one of his fingernails. With Chad Green unavailable due to his recent workload and Zack Britton unavailable due to soreness, the Yankees did not have a safety net available behind the struggling Chapman.
With their closer unable to throw strikes and their top setup men unavailable, the Yankees got exactly what they needed to escape the jam and win the game: a walk-off triple play. A’s catcher Sean Murphy hit into the 5-4-3 triple killing. To the action footage:
“He was just dealing with a little nail issue. It was sore and bugging him but he felt fine to pitch,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said after the game. “I just told him to throw the sinker for the three-ball and let’s get on with it.”
The walk-off triple play is baseball’s first since Eric Bruntlett’s unassisted triple play for the Phillies against the Mets on Aug. 23, 2009, and baseball’s first walk-off triple play with a one-run lead since the Reds turned a 6-4-3-2 triple play against the Cardinals on May 30, 1967. It is the third walk-off triple play in Yankees history. They also turned one in 1903 and another in 1911.
Furthermore, the Yankees have now turned three triple plays this season. They turned a traditional 5-4-3 triple play against the White Sox on May 21, and a nontraditional 1-3-6-2-5-6 triple play against the Blue Jays on June 17, just three days ago. Chapman was also on the mound for the May 21 triple play.
“It’s incredible when you think about it,” Chapman said. “You can tell this to someone and they probably won’t believe it. They would need to see it to believe it … Thank God the ground ball was near the base and (Gio) Urshela was able to make the play. That play saved the game.”
The Yankees are the first team to turn three triple plays in a season since the 2016 White Sox and they’re only the 11th team to do in baseball history. The 1911 Tigers, 1924 Red Sox, 1965 Cubs, and 1979 Red Sox are the only other teams to do it in the Modern Era. Three triple plays in 31 days is the shortest span in history, surpassing 36 days by the 1979 Red Sox.
“For us to have three, and two in 2-4 days here — usually a triple play sneaks up on you — that’s two huge ones with Chappie on the mound late in the game, obviously,” Boone said. “It’s exciting to be a part of that when it ends the game, a tight game.”