Rockies turn triple play after rare interference call on Seth Smith

David Brown


Seth Smith of the San Diego Padres gets an "A" for effort, but also a "G" for grabby for his part in a rare triple play turned by the Colorado Rockies on Sunday.

The Rockies went around the horn with Padres runners at first and second in the top of the third inning on Carlos Quentin's grounder. Nolan Arenado stepped on third and fired to D.J. LeMahieu, who stepped across second and pivoted before firing to Justin Morneau at first. LeMahieu's relay was late by a half-step, but second base umpire Seth Buckminster called Smith out at second for interference after he reached for LeMahieu's legs.

As Cliff Corcoran of Sports Illustrated notes, it was the first triple play since 1905, and only the third in major league history, that was helped by an interference call.

Smith argued, appearing to tell the umpire that he reached out for the infielder while still being able to touch the bag, as the rules allow him to do. Replay evidence was dicey at best for Smith, who might have touched the bag with the toe of his right shoe but definitely grabbed LeMahieu, possibly slowing his relay to first.

It's possible that an arms-first slide, with Smith trying to kick LeMahieu while being better able to control his hands to touch the bag, might have been more effective. It's hard to say with certainty that any slide, other than an illegal one, would have affected the play's outcome.

Rockies announcers noted that interference calls are not eligible to be looked at by the replay umpires, so Smith was out and the Padres could not ask for the review crew to take a look. Bud Black also didn't have a challenge remaining, even if he could use it.

It was the 693rd triple play recorded since 1876. Triple plays happen in Major League Baseball typically 4-5 times a season, although Penn State's baseball team turned two triple plays in one game the other day. The New York Yankees turned MLB's other triple play this season almost exactly one month ago.

The Rockies won 8-6, improving their record to 25-20, thanks to a two-run home run by Morneau in the 10th. Troy Tulowitzki also homered for the Rockies and Smith homered for the Padres, who fell to 21-24.

Quentin, who has been injured for most of the season, came out after the third inning with a leg injury.


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David Brown is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at and follow him on Twitter!

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