Victories have been rare for the Quakes this season, but on Saturday the Quakes not only got that with an 8-6 win over the 66ers, but they got something even rarer: a triple play.
Trailing 8-4 in the eighth, the Sixers had runners on first and third with one out when Bridger Hunt hit a sinking line drive towards shortstop P.J. Phillips. Phillips short-hopped the ball, stepped on second to get Jaime Pedroza, then threw to first baseman Mark Trumbo to retire Hunt. Scott Van Slyke, who got a late jump waiting to see if the ball would drop, tried to score on the play, but Trumbo threw to catcher Flint Wipke. Van Slyke tried to get around Wipke and touch home, but he was tagged out before he could do so.
It was the first Quakes triple play since May 14, 2004, also against the 66ers, and was the fourth in franchise history.
It is believed the 66ers last turned a triple play in the 2005 season, when they turned two. One of those two was on June 2, 2005 at Arrowhead Credit Union Park, interestingly enough against the Quakes. Blake Balkcom hit a foul popup to first baseman Bryan Lahair, who caught the ball, then threw to double up two baserunners.
The Sixers had led 4-0 in the third inning (including a Trayvon Robinson home run), but the Quakes battled back with a two-run Anthony Norman home run in the third, and a six-run fifth against starter Tim Sexton (3-8). Phillips had a three-run double and Abel Nieves had a two-run double in the fifth.
The triple play looked even bigger in the ninth, when the Sixers ralled for two runs on Drew Locke’s two-out two-run double that closed an 8-4 gap to 8-6.
That brought on Quakes closer Ryan Aldridge, making back-to-back appearances for the first time since joining the Quakes. Aldridge, who hasn’t allowed a run and only four hits in 9 1/3 innings this season, earned his fifth save by striking out Austin Gallagher looking.