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Back-to-back-to-back triples

Posted by Andy on June 2, 2011

In last night's Indians-Blue Jays slugfest, Toronto hit three consecutive triples in the 5th inning. They were stroked by Eric Thames, Rajai Davis, and Jayson Nix.

This has got to be a very rare occurrence. After all, 3 triples in an entire game by 1 team isn't even that common:

Rk Date Tm Opp Rslt
1 2011-05-19 NYY BAL W 13-2
2 2010-09-25 COL SFG W 10-9
3 2010-08-29 COL LAD W 10-5
4 2010-08-18 PHI SFG W 8-2
5 2010-06-29 MIN DET W 11-4
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 6/2/2011.

Those are all the previous such games with 3+ triples going back to last year.

One game, the 9/25/2010 one, comes tantalizingly close, with Jay Payton and Carlos Gonzalez hitting back-to-back triples ahead of a Troy Tulowitzki homer. Then, Melvin Mora tripled right after Tulo's hit. That's 3 triples and a homer over a span of 4 batters.

In the Yankees game from earlier this year, Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter hit back-to-back triples. In all the other games on the list, the triples were all separated by other plate appearances.

The Associated Press account of last night's game says the last time a team hit 3 consecutive triples was in this May5th, 1981 Expos game, when Mike Gates, Tim Raines, and Tim Wallach did it in the bottom of the 9th. Sadly, like the Blue Jays last night, it came in a game in which their team was already getting blown out.

Now here's a neat bit of trivia for those of you who like round numbers. If we include last night's Jays' game (which does not yet appear in the database at the time I'm writing this post), then that 1981 Expos game is exactly the 200th most recent time 1 team hit 3 or more triples in a game and the last time 3 triples came consecutively.

Add in the symmetry that both times it was done by a Canadian team at home in a blowout loss, and we have something quite rare.

(Thanks to reader Corey W who emailed me about this!)

20 Responses to “Back-to-back-to-back triples”

  1. Mickey John Says:

    Can you get the stats for frequency of back to back triples? You mentioned Gardner and Jeter doing it earlier this year. When I watched the game I wondered how often it happens. My research came up empty. All I found was the MLB record of 5 consecutive triples by the Red Sox in 1933.

  2. bluejaysstatsgeek Says:

    In both last night's game, and the Expos game, the opposition won, scoring 13 runs. More symmetry!

  3. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    5 consecutive triples, yikes. Bad outfield.

    Andy, last night's Pirate/Met game had 4 consecutive infield hits, a groundout RBI and I believe another infield hit then an error, all in the same horrible seventh inning. It just goes to show you how Bbaps really matters (none of these balls could of been hits in any other way, and Capuanao was dominating till then).
    But in keeping with your thread of consecutive rare hits, I wonder, is there a way to check out consecutive infield hits? That had to be the modern record last night.

    Andy, I know you have given me your bbref email before, but I have lost it.
    I have a great post idea and have been compiling the data in my spare time for a month. I was wondering if I can send it your way and you can add anything to it and possibly post it. It stemmed from a Davey Johnson post a few threads ago and was helped along by a Dale Sveum reference by Johnny Twisto. Gotta love BBref stream of consciousness.

  4. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    Just checked the play-by-play to last nights Met game, and yes, 4 consecutive groundball infield hits, none hit hard fall for a hit.
    Then after a double, another infield hit, then a fielder's choice groundout RBI. That's 5 balls hit at little league speed netting 3 runs.
    Last night's game was made for Bbip, or vice versa.

  5. Mickey John Says:

    Correction on post was 4 consecutive triples not happened on May 6, 1934 when Detroit visited Fenway. The triples were by Carl Reynolds, Moose Solters, Rick Ferrell, and Bucky Walters. Reynolds had another triple in the game, and Boston finished with 5 triples in a 14-4 victory.

  6. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Duke/3, I smell a fluke-HR-season post coming....

    His email is on the sidebar (on my screen, immediately to the right of post #5)

  7. Dr. Doom Says:

    #5 on the list above was Denard Span's three-triple game from last year. That was one of the oddest things I've ever watched.

  8. Andy Says:

    #7 reminds me that I could have done this search as most different players to triple for one team in the same game--since back-to-back triples could never be hit by the same player.

  9. Doug Says:


    Four triples in a row. At Fenway !

    Interesting, because Fenway doesn't strike me as the kind of park where one is likly to hit triples. More like a place where line drive homers turn into long singles, or cans of corn become doubles. Unless you get a ball taking some crazy hops off walls or those weird corners in center field. But having that happen 4 batters in a row - bizarre.

  10. Tmckelv Says:

    The fact that there were 3 consecutive triples by the 1981 Expos is not surprising. But the fact that Tim Wallach was involved is very surprising. An OF must have fallen down.

  11. John Autin Says:

    Random notes on that 4-straight-triples game:

    -- The 4 triples came during a 12-run inning. Maybe Detroit's outfielders were exhausted.

    -- Moose Solters set a sort of record 2 years later with the Browns when he had 134 RBI and a 95 OPS -- the most RBI accompanying a sub-100 OPS+ (by a margin of 10). (Solters also holds the unofficial career record for transactions involving groovy names, including Ski Melillo, Ivy Andrews, Lyn Lary, Oral Hildebrand, Bill Knickerbocker, Joe Vosmik, and Rip Radcliff.)

    -- 4 straight triples is a freak event no matter how you slice it. But if it was ever going to be done by the Red Sox in Fenway, 1934 was a good year. Boston tied for the AL lead with 70 triples, and they hit 2/3 of those at home. (Incidentally, BoSox pitchers allowed just 17 triples that year. I wonder how often one team has outdone its opponents over the course of a season by a factor of 4 to 1 in any offensive category? Ruth's Yankees with HRs, I guess. Any other candidates?)

  12. Johnny Twisto Says:

    I knew Fenway used to have different dimensions, but this indicates that 1934 was actually the season the fences came way *in*:

    And three of the consecutive triplers probably weren't particularly fast. Ferrell was a catcher. Walters would eventually become an MVP and HOVG pitcher. This was his rookie season and he was actually a 3Bman at the time. I never knew that. Solters was an OF but only hit 4 triples and stole 9 bases that season. Reynolds played a fair amount of CF in his career and had multiple seasons of double-digits 3B and SB, so he could probably move a bit.

    The five triples Boston hit in that game are the most any team has had in Fenway since 1919. Four teams hit four. On 9/25/29, BOS and NY combined for 6 triples. Detroit also hit a triple in the '34 game, so 6 appears to be the post-1919 park record. Anyone wanna see how that compares to other parks?

  13. Doug Says:


    Good point about Wallach.

    Almost 9000 PAs in his career - he had 51 steals and 66 times caught stealing. In 1981, in 71 games, he attempted one steal and was caught.

  14. kenh Says:

    In Canada, we call that a hat trick.

  15. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    @14/ kenh Says: 'In Canada, we call that a hat trick."

    Well, if it were three in a row, it would be a PURE hat trick...

  16. Raphy Says:

    Other games with back-to-back triples:

    May 6, 1981 bot. 9 Expos - Gates, Raines, Wallach:

    April 25,1981 bot. 4 Cubs - Henderson, Durham , Morales:

    June 8, 1961 Top 3 Athletics - Posada, Siebern , Pignatano:

    Note: These games were found using the event finder to find games in which the home team or road team hit 2 triples with just a runner on 3rd and then manually checking the results. If a team advanced a runner between their back to back to back triples, it would not have been found with this search.

  17. I love triples, so do the Blue Jays Says:

    [...] Baseball Reference blog has some facts including the last time this happened was the Expos in 1981. Tweet Share on [...]

  18. eorns Says:

    Also note that Andre Dawson hit a double after the three know he must have been thinking about it!

  19. allan Says:

    "...using the event finder to find games in which the home team or road team hit 2 triples with just a runner on 3rd..."

    How do you do that?

  20. Raphy Says:

    Using the team batting event finder search for:
    1950-2011 All Teams Triples
    (I think I only used 1950-1981 because I knew it hadn't happened between 1981 and 2011)
    Filter for Home team and bases --3.

    You now have all of the games with triples that were hit with just a runner on 3rd. The results cover 2 pages. On each of those pages sort the results by Gm #. This will allow you to find all the games in which the home team hit 2 triples with just a runner on 3rd.

    Repeat the process with road selected instead of home.

    I hope that this explains it. If anything is unclear, please ask.