The New York Yankees turned a rare triple play thanks to some shoddy baserunning by the Toronto Blue Jays at Nahlen Field in Buffalo on Thursday night.
The strange sequence played out in the bottom of the first inning, with Toronto slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. up at the plate, with two men in scoring position and no outs. With the count full, Guerrero pounded a soft tapper into the turf along the third-base line, sending Yankees pitcher Mike King off the mound in pursuit.
The runner on third base, Marcus Semien, stayed on the bag while King collected the ball and fired a strike to first, where Guerrero was retired. But things went sideways for Toronto when the runner on second, Bo Bichette, broke toward third on contact. Bichette's move created a logjam at third, where Semien was then forced to break for home.
The Yankees were all over Semien, catching him in a rundown where he was tagged out after a couple throws. Bichette was then nailed trying to retake third after he'd retreated back toward second.
Without knowing whether the Blue Jays had specific signals for their baserunners on the play, it's hard to see how Bichette wasn't at fault here. With the weakly hit ground ball bringing King toward Semien, he had little chance to break for home. Bichette simply didn't read the baserunner in front of him.
The Yankees were all too happy to get off the field without having faced more than the minimum three batters, only moments after they were in a tough spot against one of the game's top sluggers. The triple play marked the second this year for the Yankees, and the 26th in franchise history, according to the Associated Press.
The apparent downturn in the fundamentals of baserunning has been a hot topic in baseball this season, with critics claiming it's symptomatic of a larger disregard for the basics of the game. Astros manager Dusty Baker last week said baserunning in the game is "just horrible."