BOSTON -- It’s one thing to turn a double play on a ground ball. That’s routine.
But to turn a triple play on a ground ball?
That’s highly unusual, but the Red Sox turned the rare 5-4-3 triple play Tuesday night against the Rays.
With runners at first and second and none out in the fourth inning, Sean Rodriguez hit a roller down the third-base line. Jed Lowrie, about a step from the bag, picked up the ball, stepped on the third-base bag and quickly fired a throw to Dustin Pedroia at second base for the second out.
Not content with just getting two outs, Pedroia made an amazingly quick turn at the bag and zipped a strike to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez that easily beat Rodriguez for the triple play, electrifying the sellout crowd.
It was the first triple play turned by the Red Sox since John Valentin, playing shortstop, racked up an unassisted triple play in the sixth inning of a July 8, 1994, home game against Seattle.
The last time the Sox turned a ground ball into three outs was on Aug. 18, 1965, but that one went 5-4-3-5.
On July 17, 1990, the Red Sox grounded into a pair of 5-4-3 triple plays against the Twins at Fenway Park. Jody Reed and Tom Brunansky bounced into those tri-killings, making Boston the first team to hit into two triple plays in one game.