In the fourth inning of Thursday’s Mariners-Astros game, Houston designated hitter Evan Gattis stepped to the plate with no one out and runners on first and second base. On the second pitch of the at-bat, he checked his swing on a Marco Gonzales cutter and grounded the ball to third, where Kyle Seager stepped on the base for the first out and fired to Robinson Cano at second for out No. 2, as Gattis chugged safely to first base. It looked like a fairly routine 6-4 double play.
Except that Gattis, apparently thinking the inning was over, turned off first base and began running from the field. By the time he noticed there were only two outs, he was far from the baseline and had been called out. Mariners first baseman Dan Vogelbach tagged him, just to be safe, completing a thoroughly odd (and strangely anticlimactic) triple play.
Baseball has enjoyed a long tradition of players forgetting how many out there are and embarrassing themselves in turn (shoutout to Larry Walker), but it’s typically a fielder, not a runner, committing the gaffe. Off the top of my head, I can’t recall another time that a runner left a base thinking the inning was over, let alone when doing so led to a triple play. This might be a historically silly mistake.
In the end, things worked out all right for Gattis, who singled, walked and drove in a run in a 9-2 Astros win, but he’s probably going to hear about that triple play for a long time to come.