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Rockies miss triple play by a toenail according to umpires review

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

The Colorado Rockies came as close to turning their second triple play this season as humanly possible without actually completing the job on Friday night. In fact, upon further review, it looked like Colorado actually pulled off the unusual 5-6-3 around the horn triple-killing, but the call was ultimately upheld after a manager's challenge by Walt Weiss.

It happened in the fifth inning of Colorado's 8-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. After Neil Walker singled — Pittsburgh's first hit of the night off Brett Anderson — and Russell Martin drew a walk, Jordy Mercer, hit a chopper to third baseman Charlie Culberson, who had just entered the game for Gold Glove winner Nolan Arenado, who was benched for not hustling. Culberson fielded it cleanly and raced to third for one out. He then fired a little high and wide to shortstop Josh Rutledge, who was covering second due to Colorado's defensive alignment. 

Rutledge attempted to tap his toe like we see wide receivers do along the sideline in the NFL, but was determined to have missed the bag by second base umpire Tom Hallion. Impressively, Rutledge collected himself and still got Mercer at first base by a full step.

Just that close to Colorado's second triple play this season and the fifth in MLB, which would have been amazing considering there was only one all of last season and four over the past two seasons combined.

Before Colorado turned a 5-4-3 triple play against the San Diego Padres on May 18 - which was aided by an interference call - their most recent happened in 2007 when Troy Tulowitzki turned an unassisted triple play. 2007 was also the last time one team (Philadelphia Philles) turned two triple plays in a single season. 

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(MLB.TV)

(MLB.TV)

All of the focus on this play goes to the call at second base, which may have been difficult to overturn regardless of how it was originally called. Of course, if this were last season when expanded replay didn't exist and the neighborhood call was still prevalent, Colorado likely gets the benefit. 

It's also too bad Arenado was removed from the game prior to that half-inning. That's a play and a throw he probably makes a little easier than Culberson, giving Colorado a real shot to turn it. As it is, they basically came up a cleat or toenail short of history. 

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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