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David Brown

Holy! ... Angel Pagan hits inside-the-park homer, starts triple play

David Brown
Big League Stew

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Angel Pagan(notes): His name evokes the dichotomy of man and his game, and, at least Wednesday night, it was equal parts heavenly and devilish on both sides of the ball.

Pagan hit an inside-the-park home run and started a triple play for the New York Mets, becoming the first major leaguer to accomplish both feats in the same game since 1955.

One guy. Two of the most exciting kinds of plays in baseball. In the same game.

And yet, his team lost. Pagan's extra effort was not enough for the Mets, who fell 5-3 to the Washington Nationals.

"We lost the game," Pagan said softly. "It would have been better if we won the game. It would have been a lot of fun. Unfortunately, we didn't win."

Regardless, give it up for Angel, a nice guy who's had his share (along with your share and my share) of physical issues the past few years.

The inside-the-parker, hit against Livan Hernandez(notes) in the fourth inning, was pretty standard. Pagan lined a pitch off the center-field fence, just beyond the range of a leaping Nyjer Morgan(notes). The ball bounced far away and Pagan never stopped hustling. He got a firm "go" sign from coach Chip Hale and barely beat Ian Desmond's(notes) relay throw to the plate.

Check out homer on video

It was the second career inside-the-park homer for Pagan. In a strange coincidence, the first one also came in a game that featured a triple play — an unassisted one, turned by Eric Bruntlett(notes) of the Philadelphia Phillies on August 23.

Pagan's triple play, which came in the fifth, was strange looking.

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With runners on first and second, Washington's Cristian Guzman(notes) lined a pitch to center and Pagan made a sweet running, lunging catch — though umpires did not immediately make a definitive call, safe or out...

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Pagan's eyes say he knows a historic moment is upon us all...

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Pagan took a few steps forward and threw the ball, well, to nobody, in the middle of the infield...

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With Morgan standing on second — hoping umpires would call a trap — catcher Henry Blanco(notes) alertly scooped up the ball and flipped it to Jose Reyes, and he stepped on the bag for the second out...

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Reyes relayed to Ike Davis(notes) at first base — where Guzman was standing, hoping he had hit a single — for the third out. After a brief umps conference to get their story straight, crew chief Tim Tschida confirmed the triple play.

Check out the triple-play video

It's the 10th triple play in Mets history and the first in eight years, almost to the day.

And not since Ted Kazanski of the Phillies did it in '55 had a player hit an inside-the-parker and helped turn a triple play in the same ballgame.

Wait, Ted Kazanski? Could he be the dad of Tom "Iceman" Kazanski from "Top Gun"?

That would make Pagan "Maverick," and he was everyone's problem on the Nats. Hey, the plaque for the guys who turn triple plays and hit inside-the-park home runs is down the hall.

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