Twins turn triple play, highlighting their early season success

Sometimes, it’s better to be lucky than good. The Minnesota Twins have experienced a little bit of both those things this year.

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The club is off to a surprising 26-23 record due to a revamped defense and a breakout season at the plate from Miguel Sano. That’s the good.

They’ve managed to do that despite a starting rotation that ranks 27th in fWAR and a bullpen that ranks dead last with a 5.33 ERA. That’s where the luck comes in.

It’s a lot easier to overcome those obstacles when everything goes your way. The Twins experienced just that during Thursday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels. With the team clinging to a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning, the Twins managed to turn a rally-killing 5-4-3 triple play.

It couldn’t have come at a better time. The Angels were threatening to break things open after Albert Pujols and Yunel Escobar led off the inning with consecutive singles. That brought Jefry Marte to the plate with men on first and second and no outs. In that exact situation this year, teams are averaging 1.4 runs scored.

Miguel Sano was pretty excited after starting a triple play. (AP Photo)
Miguel Sano was pretty excited after starting a triple play. (AP Photo)

The Angels wound up with nothing. Marte grounded the second pitch of the at-bat straight at Miguel Sano at third. Sano caught the ball on a bounce, and was close enough to tag third base as he was transferring himself to throw to second. He made the play in one swift motion, firing a strike to Dozier at second, who then fired to first for the triple play.

The whole play was made even more special because Hall of Famer Rod Carew was in the booth. Carew is on the road to recovery after undergoing a heart and kidney transplant in December.

The play marked the second triple play of the year. The first came in May, when the Baltimore Orioles managed to catch the Boston Red Sox after a dropped pop fly.

Luck can vanish in an instant, and the Twins nearly experienced as much during Thursday’s contest. Kole Calhoun hit a home run in the bottom of the eighth to give the Angels a late 2-1 lead.

But today was not the day everything fell apart for Minnesota. The Twins stormed back in the ninth inning, scoring three runs and winning the game 4-2.

Should we attribute the Twins’ comeback to luck or skill? As long as they picked up the win, it doesn’t really matter.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik