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Philadelphia (71-50) «6020000109102
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Phils end win over Mets with unassisted triple play

CBSSports.com wire reports
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NEW YORK -- It happened so fast, Eric Bruntlett needed a few moments before he realized he had just ended a game with an unassisted triple play.

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Bruntlett became the second player in major league history to get the final three outs on his own, accomplishing the feat Sunday to preserve the Philadelphia Phillies' 9-7 victory over the New York Mets.

"I didn't know how to react. I didn't know what to do," Bruntlett said. "The ninth inning was wild. The whole game it seemed was strange."

Indeed, it was a stunning end to a crazy game that included an inside-the-park homer after the ball got stuck under the outfield wall.

Bruntlett turned the 15th unassisted triple play in big league history -- the second that ended a game. Detroit Tigers first baseman Johnny Neun also turned the trick on May 31, 1927, completing a 1-0 victory over Cleveland, according to STATS LLC.

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The amazing final sequence made a winner of Pedro Martinez in his return to New York and quashed a Mets rally against closer Brad Lidge.

"We picked a good time," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.

With runners on first and second in the ninth inning and a run already in, Jeff Francoeur hit a line drive up the middle that appeared headed toward center field for a single. But both runners were stealing on the 2-2 pitch, so Bruntlett was in perfect position as he moved over to cover second base.

He caught the liner easily, stepped on second to double up Luis Castillo and then turned to tag Daniel Murphy for the third out. Murphy tried to backpedal away from Bruntlett, but had nowhere to go.

"Frenchy hit it on the screws," Murphy said. "It happened so fast there was nothing I could do."

After bolting out of the box, a frustrated Francoeur stopped in his tracks and threw down his helmet with both hands.

"What a bizarre ending. I don't know what happened there. The game's over, so I'm happy with that," Lidge said. "That was pretty exciting. That's definitely not the way you draw it up."

The Phillies raced onto the field to congratulate Bruntlett after his rare play secured Lidge's 25th save in 33 chances.

It was the first unassisted triple play since Cleveland second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera turned one in the fifth inning on May 12, 2008, against Toronto.

Bruntlett, who made one of two Phillies errors earlier in the inning, started at second because All-Star Chase Utley was rested.

Another Phillies second baseman, Mickey Morandini, turned an unassisted triple play in 1992.

It was the first time the Mets were involved in such a play.

"Even with the runners going I did not expect him to be there. The only place he could catch the ball was where he was," Francoeur said. "To end the way it did was a little disheartening."

Angel Pagan hit the inside-the-park shot and added another homer for the Mets, handed yet another befuddling defeat. New York has found improbable ways to lose all year: Murphy dropped a fly ball in left field, Ryan Church missed third base while rounding the bag, Castillo flubbed Alex Rodriguez's ninth-inning popup at Yankee Stadium.

Of the 15 unassisted triple plays in big league history, all but one came during the regular season. Cleveland second baseman Bill Wambsganss accomplished the feat in the 1920 World Series against Brooklyn.

Martinez batted before throwing a pitch. The Phillies scored six times in the first inning off Oliver Perez on three-run homers by Jayson Werth and Carlos Ruiz.

The Citi Field crowd of 39,038 stood and cheered as Martinez walked to the plate in the Phillies' road gray-and-red uniform, a jarring sight for sure after he spent the previous four years with the Mets.

"The ovation, that's exactly the response I expected because of the mutual bond I have here," Martinez said. "I respect them and I love them."

Martinez worked the count to 3-0 and Mets manager Jerry Manuel came out to remove Perez, bothered recently by a tender right knee that sidelined him earlier this season. The move received a loud ovation, and Perez (3-4) was soundly booed as he walked off the field having thrown 47 pitches -- 20 strikes -- and getting just two outs.

Nelson Figueroa struck out Martinez to end the 26-minute inning.

The 37-year-old Martinez then gave up Pagan's inside-the-park homer leading off the first.

Pagan's drive to left-center briefly got stuck under the padding of the wall. Center fielder Shane Victorino threw his hands up, looking for a ground-rule double, as Pagan slowed into third, but second-base umpire Rob Drake allowed play to go on and Pagan raced home for his first career inside-the-park homer.

Charlie Manuel said the issue wasn't covered when the umpires went over ground rules before the game.

"They never talked about that," he said.

Martinez (2-0) never lived up to the $53 million contract he signed with the Mets after 2004, winning just 32 games and missing the 2006 playoffs with one of many injuries, including major shoulder surgery that limited him to just five starts in '07 -- all during the September collapse.

The wiry three-time Cy Young Award winner was not offered a contract after going 5-6 with a 5.61 ERA in 20 starts for the Mets last year -- a trying season in which his father died.

He labored through six innings -- and hit an RBI single -- while surrendering four runs and seven hits in his third start with the Phillies after signing with them as a free agent on July 15.

Notes

  • Pagan's inside-the-park homer was the 25th in Mets history, and second leading off a game. Charlie Neal hit the other one in 1963 at the Polo Grounds against Philadelphia.
  • Manuel was ejected in the ninth after umpires reversed a call.
  • Francoeur bruised his left thumb while making a diving catch. X-rays were negative.
 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Eric Bruntlett completes the 15th unassisted triple play in big league history and the second to end a game.  (AP)
Eric Bruntlett completes the 15th unassisted triple play in big league history and the second to end a game. (AP)

Players of the Game
Philadelphia

J. Werth
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
New York

A. Pagan
AB 5
R 3
H 2
HR 2
RBI 2
 

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Philadelphia Phillies
Jimmy Rollins, SS4111002 .243
Shane Victorino, CF2110310 .313
Jayson Werth, RF5123014 .271
Ryan Howard, 1B5000013 .266
Raul Ibanez, LF4100110 .285
Pedro Feliz, 3B4210110 .280
Eric Bruntlett, 2B5130000 .154
Carlos Ruiz, C4113004 .232
Pedro Martinez, P2011010 .167
    Chad Durbin, P0000000 .200
   a- Matt Stairs, PH0100100 .210
    Ryan Madson, P0000000 .000
    Brad Lidge, P0000000 .000
Totals35910866  
a-walked for Durbin in the 8th
Batting
2B - Jimmy Rollins (33, Perez)
HR - Jayson Werth (29, Perez), Carlos Ruiz (8, Perez)
SF - Jimmy Rollins (4)
SH - Pedro Martinez (1)
RBI - Jimmy Rollins (58), Jayson Werth 3 (79), Carlos Ruiz 3 (32), Pedro Martinez (1)
2-OUT RBI - Carlos Ruiz 3 (12)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
E - Eric Bruntlett (4, Misplayed grounder), Ryan Howard (9, Misplayed grounder)
Philadelphia Phillies
Pedro Martinez (W,2-0) 6744152 5.14
Chad Durbin 1111100 4.75
Ryan Madson 1211000 2.95
Brad Lidge (S,25) 1110000 6.90
Pitches-Strikes - Pedro Martinez 90-61, Chad Durbin 26-14, Ryan Madson 15-11, Brad Lidge 4-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Pedro Martinez 6-7, Chad Durbin 1-2, Brad Lidge 3-0
Batters Faced - Pedro Martinez 26, Chad Durbin 5, Ryan Madson 5, Brad Lidge 4
New York Mets
Angel Pagan, CF5322010 .293
Luis Castillo, 2B4231100 .321
Daniel Murphy, 1B5131002 .261
Jeff Francoeur, RF5011016 .268
Cory Sullivan, LF4111012 .275
Fernando Tatis, 3B3000112 .248
Brian Schneider, C4000003 .176
Anderson Hernandez, SS4011000 .243
Oliver Perez, P0000000 .273
    Nelson Figueroa, P1000000 .250
    Patrick Misch, P1000010 .000
   a- Jeremy Reed, PH1000000 .252
    Sean Green, P0000000 .000
   b- Gary Sheffield, PH1000001 .279
    Elmer Dessens, P0000000 .000
Totals38711725  
a-flied out for Misch in the 7th
b-flied out for Green in the 8th
Batting
2B - Daniel Murphy (24, P. Martinez), Anderson Hernandez (11, Madson)
3B - Jeff Francoeur (4, P. Martinez)
HR - Angel Pagan 2 (5, P. Martinez, P. Martinez)
RBI - Angel Pagan 2 (25), Luis Castillo (34), Daniel Murphy (42), Jeff Francoeur (59), Cory Sullivan (8), Anderson Hernandez (27)
2-OUT RBI - Daniel Murphy (13), Anderson Hernandez (15)
SB - Luis Castillo 2 (15, 2nd base off P. Martinez/Ruiz, 2nd base off Durbin/Ruiz), Cory Sullivan (4, 2nd base off Madson/Ruiz)
Team LOB - 6
New York Mets
Oliver Perez (L,3-4) 0.2466202 6.82
Nelson Figueroa 2.1422210 6.30
Patrick Misch 4100040 4.09
Sean Green 1111210 5.30
Elmer Dessens 1000000 2.95
WP - Sean Green 2 (6)
Pitches-Strikes - Oliver Perez 47-27, Nelson Figueroa 39-20, Patrick Misch 47-34, Sean Green 25-12, Elmer Dessens 13-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Oliver Perez 1-1, Patrick Misch 3-5, Sean Green 2-0
Batters Faced - Oliver Perez 8, Nelson Figueroa 13, Patrick Misch 13, Sean Green 6, Elmer Dessens 3
Game Information
Attendance - 39038
Game Time - 3:00
Temperature - 82
Umpires - Home - Mark Wegner, First Base - Rick Reed, Second Base - Rob Drake, Third Base - Tim Timmons