CLEVELAND (AP)—Asdrubal Cabrera delivered a home run in the first game of a doubleheader Monday and the 14th unassisted triple play in major league history in the nightcap.
The drive helped Cleveland win 3-0. The fielding gem wasn’t enough to complete the sweep.
“It’s a triple play but I’m not going to talk about it; we didn’t win the game,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said.
“It’s nice to get one with nothing else going our way,” Hill said after Toronto snapped a 31-inning scoreless streak and won for just the second time in seven games.
With Kevin Mench and Marco Scutaro on with singles and running on the 1-0 pitch, Cabrera made a diving backhand catch of a line drive by Lyle Overbay, touched second base to force Mench and then tagged out Scutaro.
The only miscue by the 22-year-old Cabrera was that he didn’t keep the ball.
“He flipped it into the stands and right as he did cried out, ‘Oh, no!’ ” first-base coach Luis Rivera said, serving as the Venezuelan’s interpreter.
“I knew it was pretty special,” Cabrera said.
Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki made the last unassisted triple play in the majors, on April 29, 2007, against Atlanta. Oakland second baseman Randy Velarde last turned the trick in the AL, on May 29, 2000, against the Yankees.
This was the record third unassisted triple play by a Cleveland fielder.
Indians shortstop Neal Ball made the first one in history, in 1909. Cleveland second baseman Bill Wambsganss turned the only one in the World Series, in 1920 during a Game 5 win over Brooklyn.
The Indians also have been victimized three such times. The last player to pull an unassisted triple play against them—Ron Hansen, in 1968 for Washington — is now an advance scout for Philadelphia and was at Progressive Field to see Cabrera’s feat.
“That was pretty neat,” said Lee, who pitched nine scoreless innings to lower his ERA to 0.67 but failed to improve on his 6-0 record. “It doesn’t matter now, though. The bottom line is we’ve got to win.”
With one out and Stewart on second, Martinez, ordinarly a catcher, leaped to snare a line drive off the bat of Alex Rios. After an infield single by Scott Rolen sent Stewart to third, Mench lined an 0-2 pitch into the right-center gap. Gutierrez raced over and caught it with a dive to keep it scoreless.
“We made multiple plays on defense, but didn’t do anything on offense,” Wedge said after Cleveland totaled eight hits in the two games—just three in the second game.
“Our approach was about as poor if not the poorest I’ve seen all year,” Wedge said. “There’s no excuse for it. Not to take anything away from (Marcum), he’s a fine pitcher, but we gave away at-bats all night.”
Fausto Carmona (4-1) pitched a five-hitter and Cabrera hit a two-run homer in Cleveland’s 3-0 victory in the first game.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last time a team had both pitchers throw nine scoreless innings in a doubleheader was Boston on Sept. 5, 1977, when Don Aase and Reggie Cleveland both won in Toronto.
Marcum allowed two hits in eight innings, striking out five without a walk to match Lee pitch-for-pitch. Lee yielded seven hits, walked two and struck out five.
Betancourt (1-2) was examined by trainers and stayed in the game to face Gregg Zahn, who bunted over both runners. Pinch-hitter Brad Wilkerson was intentionally walked to load the bases for Stewart, whose flyball to center easily scored Stairs. Hill’s single to center made it 3-0.
Toronto snapped a four-game losing streak after Carmona struck out three and walked four in his second shutout and third complete game in 47 big league starts.
“We know our starting pitching is extremely strong,” said David Dellucci, whose two-out single in the sixth drove in the first run. “The way Fausto was pitching, we knew it wouldn’t take a lot.”
A.J. Burnett (3-4) gave up three runs and five hits in 7 2-3 innings for the Blue Jays. Burnett allowed only one hit until Grady Sizemore doubled off the wall in right-center with one out in the sixth. Sizemore went to third on a groundout by Jamey Carroll and scored on Dellucci’s single.
“That’s a big two-out knock in a zero-zero ballgame,” Wedge said.
Travis Hafner drew a leadoff walk in the seventh and Cabrera followed with his first homer since Sept. 17.
Toronto fell two innings short of their longest scoreless streak of 33 innings, May 12-16, 1981. That streak included a perfect game by the Indians’ Len Barker on May 15. … Burnett dropped to 30-34 with a 4.31 ERA when starting with more than four days’ rest. He’s 42-36 with a 3.43 ERA when starting on normal rest. … Stairs had three of Toronto’s hits. … Carmona fanned Hill three times for his only strikeouts. … Indians OF Shin-Soo Choo, recovering from elbow surgery last September, is expected to begin a rehab assignment this week at Triple-A Buffalo. … According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last team to have two pitchers go nine innings in both ends of a doubleheader was the Milwaukee Brewers on Aug. 13, 1993. Angel Miranda and Ricky Bones each allowed one run in nine innings.