Each Sunday in this space we bring you some of our favorite quirks, oddities and unusual plays from the week in baseball. Thanks to our friends at Baseball Reference and the Elias Sports Bureau for research assistance.
Ryan Zimmerman caught Brandon Crawford's liner in the eighth inning Friday to begin the first triple play ever for the Washington Nationals. The franchise last turned one on Sept. 3, 2002, against the Philadelphia Phillies, when Marlon Anderson struck out and the Expos nabbed two runners stealing on the pitch. Friday's was the first TP by a Washington team since July 30, 1968, when Senators shortstop Ron Hansen, in Cleveland, turned one of the 15 unassisted ones. According to the Society for American Baseball Research, it was the first 3-3-5 triple play in major league history (some have gone 3-3-6 to double a runner off second, but never off third). There have already been five turned this season (three by the Chicago White Sox), the most through July since 1979.
Another previous Washington team, now the Minnesota Twins, added to our collection of wacky walk-offs with a bases-loaded walk in the 12th Friday. The team's last game-ending walk was in 2007, also against the White Sox, but their last one in the 12th inning (or later) was back on Aug. 25, 1984. Andre David drew one in the 12th against the Toronto Blue Jays to score Ron Washington for a 5-4 victory.
Speaking of walk-offs, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim went to the bottom of the ninth trailing the Boston Red Sox 1-0 on Thursday. With the bases loaded, Daniel Nava hit a grounder to Hanley Ramirez, whose throw home sailed and allowed both the tying and winning runs to score. The Angels hadn't won a game on an error when trailing since Opening Day 1984. That was also by a 2-1 score, also against the Red Sox, and occurred when Bob Boone's two-out bases-loaded grounder was booted by shortstop Jackie Gutierrez.
In a rainout-induced doubleheader, Jedd Gyorko's two-run homer proved to be the game winner in the opener, and he also drove in the St. Louis Cardinals' first run of the nightcap with a home run. Stop us if you've heard this one. That not only was true against the New York Mets on Tuesday, but Gyorko did the exact same thing six days earlier, homering in both games on July 20 against the San Diego Padres. In recent years, there have been fewer doubleheaders, so the last Cardinal to homer in both games of a DH twice in the same season was none other than Stan Musial in 1949. The last player for any team to do it twice in a seven-day span was the Pittsburgh Pirates' Bobby Bonilla against the Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds on August 14 and 17, 1990.
More from this week:
Rick Porcello, Friday: First Red Sox pitcher to throw a complete-game win in Anaheim since Tom Gordon on Aug. 28, 1996.
Yunel Escobar, Tuesday: Second leadoff batter in Angels' history to reach base six times in a nine-inning game. The other was Darin Erstad versus Arizona, June 9, 1998.
Phillies, Saturday: Sent all nine batters to the plate in the eighth inning without any of them getting a hit. First team to do that in two years and first for Phillies since July 17, 1992 (vs. Los Angeles Dodgers).