New York Yankees turn game-ending triple play vs. Oakland Athletics, tie MLB record

Yankees manager Aaron Boone knew it off the bat.

“Usually, a triple play sneaks up on you,” he said. “Right away, I’m thinking, ‘That’s a triple play.'”

New York turned its record-tying third triple play of the season to strand the go-ahead run in the ninth inning, bailing out closer Aroldis Chapman from a shaky outing and closing down a 2-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Sunday.

Gary Sanchez spoiled Sean Manaea’s gem with a go-ahead two-run double in the sixth inning, and relievers Jonathan Loaisiga (7-2) and Lucas Luetge turned a 2-1 lead over to Chapman in the ninth.

A day after reaching 103.4 mph during his 15th save — his fastest pitch on a strikeout since the 2017 AL wild-card game — Chapman walked Jed Lowrie and Chad Pinder on nine pitches, topping out at 98 mph.

He was visited by an athletic trainer because the nail in his left middle finger broke, but he stayed in the game to face Sean Murphy, who drilled the second pitch of the at-bat right at third baseman Gio Urshela.

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Urshela stepped on third and whizzed the ball to DJ LeMahieu, and the second baseman relayed to first baseman Chris Gittens to get Murphy by a step.

“You’re around long enough, you see everything,” longtime A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “I’ve never seen a game end like that before.”

New York also turned the first 1-3-6-2-5-6 triple play in major league history on Thursday at Buffalo, New York, versus the Toronto Blue Jays and also had an around-the-horn triple play on May 21 against the Chicago White Sox involving Urshela, second baseman Rougned Odor and first baseman Luke Voit.

The storied franchise had never turned more than one triple play in a season and tied a major league record for most in a season, a record shared by 11 other teams and last accomplished by the 2016 White Sox.

It’s the first game-ending triple play since 2009, when the Philadelphia Phillies turned one versus the New York Mets in an Aug. 23 contest, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

The Yankees’ triple plays have happened over 31 days, the shortest span ever for three by a big league team.

Chapman’s 16th save in 18 tries sent Oakland to its first road series loss this season after eight victories and a split. The A’s had just four hits.

Loaisiga cleaned up Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery’s jam in the sixth and covered 1⅔ scoreless innings, helping New York lock up its fifth win in six games — all when trailing after the fifth inning.

“It felt like a big series, coming off some really quality wins in Buffalo,” Boone said.

Manaea (6-3) struck out a career-high 11 and Matt Olson homered for Oakland, but the A’s dropped their second straight after ending a seven-game winning streak Saturday.

A two-time All-Star, Sanchez lost his starting job during last year’s postseason due to an extended slump, one that stretched into the start of 2021. He’s surged back to top form in June, entering Sunday hitting .294 with a 1.012 OPS this month. He has five homers in his past 10 games, and 11 of his past 17 hits have gone for extra bases.

“He’s on time,” Boone said. “He’s making really good decisions. Doesn’t mean you’re always going to get results, but it’s not an accident now that he’s getting really good results.”

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