Since the turn of the century, there have been almost 500 triple plays turned, working out to roughly five every year. The most any team has turned in a season is three. Before July 17, 1990, two had never been turned in the same game. That day, however, the Minnesota Twins completed two 5-4-3 TPs in the same game. In the fourth inning, with the bases loaded and Scott Erickson on the mound, Boston’s Tom Brunansky hit a sharp grounder to third-baseman Gary Gaetti. Gaetti scooped it up easily, stepped on the third-base bag, then, rather than nail the go-ahead run at home, whipped a throw to second. Second baseman Al Newman brushed the base, then relayed to Kent Hrbek at first to complete the play. With Brunansky’s tectonic plate-like speed, the throw beat him by a healthy margin.
The second triple play opportunity presented itself when Jody Reed smacked another grounder right at Gaetti with men on first and second. Once again, Gaetti-to-Newman-to-Hrbek resulted in a three-out play. Reed was actually a fast runner and would normally have beaten the play out, but he stumbled coming out of the box. Surprisingly, Sox manager Joe Morgan admitted later that he had started the runners early to avoid a double play. The Twin’s defensive heroics went for naught, however, as Boston won the game 1-0 on a fifth inning unearned run.